Thursday, August 20, 2009
Listening, Learning and Creativity
Quint almost always has something to say. When he makes his soft trilling sound, it means he has a question or needs help with something. Usually, it means that he has batted his little toy mouse under the closet door and needs help getting it out. Sometimes, it means that it's time to brush his teeth and groom his fur. When combined with him standing up on his hind legs, reaching up with a paw, grabbing my arm and pulling, it means he needs something right now. He's very bright. He knows that there are some things he just can't do by himself, so he asks for help.
There's a lesson to be learned from this, especially for me. I usually try to be mostly self-sufficient. This is a good thing when you're trying to get stuff done around the house, or trying to fix your broken car along the highway somewhere. It's important, though, to realize that sometimes you need help getting to where you want to go. Some things require more knowledge and expertise that any one person can have. This is true for artists in particular, I think. Artist are good at creating art. They are also good at thinking up ways to create art. They are good at learning techniques that help them create art. They are, very often, not so good at sales, promotion, public relations, organization, and networking -- those skills that would enable to artist to actually earn money from his/her art. The business of art is, seemingly, an entirely different field than the creation of art. An artist creates something and, at that point, considers his/her job done. He/she has created a communication, has said what he/she intended to say, but unless that communication reaches its intended audience, it isn't really a communication at all. It's just a potential communication, an impulse outward with no destination. Somehow that piece of art needs to reach an audience to accomplish its creator's purpose, and therein lies the problem. The solution seems to be to enlist the help of people who are good at that sort of thing.
There is this problem of finance. The artist would like to be paid for his work, usually. So, would the sales, promotion and PR people. For the artist to get paid, the work must have value to its audience, must reach that audience, and then there must be a way for the audience to reach back to the artist with appreciation in the form of money so that the artist can continue to live and produce more art. Reaching the audience and making that return flow possible is the hard part of creating art. At least, it is for me, and that's where I need help. The problem of finance is funding the promotion of the art before there is any income with which to pay the promoters. And so it comes back to the original problem. I'm good at creating art. I'm terrible at selling it. Just like Quint and his games, I'm great a doing things, I'm just not so good at opening doors.