Sorry. But it could be true.
But hey, it doesn’t matter if you don’t mind.
Just don’t try telling other people what to make, write, draw, design, sew, compose.
Maybe you think you have something special going on. Maybe you think you have something to sell. Maybe you’re going to be the next big thing. That what you do is ‘my creativity’. Maybe you have urges to make things. But where does true creative talent end and hobby craft begin?!
I know some people are going to read this and think ‘You sanctimonious bitch’, and you may be right.
This is going to be harsh. Look away if you have a weak stomach.
1. But my mum said my voice/painting/ is great
That’s wonderful, but don’t confuse parental praise with real, honest, healthy criticism. Of course your mum would say that, she’s your mum! And friends are, often, no better. They don’t want to HURT YOUR FEELINGS.
If you’re thinking of going professional, semi-professional, or exhibiting your creativity in public in any way, shape or form- you’re going to need a thicker skin.
I once spoke to an art student about what she was going to do after college. Sell my work in a gallery, was her naive response. HER WORK WAS SHITE! And what if they don’t like it? I asked politely. She stared at me as though I was saying something in a foreign language. This young woman had no idea how talentless she was.
Stop living in fantasy land. It’s just self-deception.
Be brutally honest with yourself.
Otherwise, things are going to get painful somewhere down the line.
2. Your creative endeavours are original
Are they? Really?
Nothing is original. Everything has been said before. We just try to find a unique way of re-purposing the original message. It might be that the wonky-eyed portrait of your pet poodle looks unique, but is it really creative. And let’s be honest, should you even expose the world to it?
Please don’t set up an Etsy shop, and proceed to fill it with tat. It is quite simply embarrassing. Don’t do that to yourself.
Why would anyone want to buy your shit?
Why do you think it merits equal attention as someone who has worked seriously and with total dedication for decades?
Look at it – it doesn’t!
3. You love being free and Bohemian, surrounded by tubes of paint/paper/fabric/instruments
You think this is the 60s? You want to remain in a student state of mind forever?
Time to grow up.
For most artists, creativity does not come from flopping around in silk dressing gowns, traipsing through a mist of linseed and oil paints. It’s fucking hard work.
You must work at honing your skills on a daily basis. You must practise your craft – and I use this word in it’s true sense; ‘skill, dexterity, strength, talent’. You must learn that what you created last year, is not as good as what you will produce this year. It is a never-ending striving to reach something over there.
Art doesn’t make itself. The tools of your trade, whether they be brushes and pens, electronic devices, piano, fountain pen or keyboard, will need to be used on a regular basis for you to learn what they can do. After that, your brain needs to be trained, put into gear and applied to the problem at hand.
One doesn’t simply wake up one day and dash off a masterpiece. Your painted stones with hideous dog and cat faces are NOT ART!
4. I’m an introvert, therefore I must be creative
No. Not necessarily so.
Stamping INFJ, or whatever the fuck, all over your social media pages doesn’t make you a better person, or more interesting, or more thoughtful, or creative!
And then you get upset if someone passes a remark that doesn’t fit your idea of yourself. And weep copious tears so your ‘Followers’, or whoever, send hugs and kind thoughts, and tell you to ignore the vicious bitch in the corner, because you’re a ‘beautiful person’.
Just because you class yourself as introvert, doesn’t mean you have to affect a delicate flower demeanour. Introverts live in the real world, we just need time to recoup energy away from other people.
Plus, just because you’re a ‘beautiful person’, doesn’t mean you have a ‘creative soul’.
5. But isn’t creativity whatever I say it is?
Well, if we’re sticking with creativity as meaning using one’s imagination to create something – to invent, then yes.
But simply painting from a photo is not using one’s imagination!
Making fan fiction – I hear a gasp of horror – is not true creativity. The honest truth is that most fan fiction is fucking awful, and why?
Because it is the soup of the soup. It can never be as good (or tasty) as the first/original.
Why is it that we can all spot a truly gifted sportsman or woman when we see them in action? We know that Serena Williams is one of the best tennis players, and that Usain Bolt cannot be beaten at his game.
Because we can see the evidence with our own eyes. When a footballer scores repeatedly, that tells us they’re one of the talented ones. We know who is the best, the talent oozes from gymnasts and boxers and cricketers.
But art is another thing. Most people won’t have a clue what makes Turner fucking amazing, whilst Tracy Emin is shite. Many will say that’s my personal opinion – and there’s the rub!
People today simply don’t have the ability to determine what is good and what is bad. Should we say that someone who has been practising their craft for over 30 years can have the right to make this decision?
But newcomers don’t want to know. And the talentless get mardy and whinge and whine because, “I have a right to make art as much as anyone.”
Yes, you do.
But don’t try telling an experienced and ‘time-served’ creative that you know better than him/her.
Maybe listen to criticism once in a while.
Perhaps give the experienced people the benefit of the doubt, and look at what you’ve created, and say ‘Shiiiit, I really am bad at this, maybe I ought to go and do something more useful with my time.’
And stop putting it on Etsy for fucks sake!