“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.” Coco Chanel (from The Painter’s Keys)
One writer sees the culture of creative people as “crashing” leading him to lament about the state of the current art world. He believes artists are seen as “cultural elites” “idle dreamers” or “self-indulgent parasites.” Perhaps he should get out more and take a look at where the productive artists are. His descriptions may fit artists in the places that think of themselves as centers of the art world among people who decide what is and isn’t art. Most of today’s working artists are outside of that world and too busy making art to care.
Scott Timberg has written two articles, one for Salon and one for Arts Journal Blogs, and now a book on the demise of the creative class. He mourns the downfall of the “creatives” and discusses possible causes of what he sees as the current creative crisis. While Timberg may have valid points, he is, quite possibly, missing the bigger picture. In my opinion, only one area of the creative class is dropping. And that area may be one of “idle dreamers,” “cultural elites” and “self-indulgent parasites.” It seems likely, the art world Timberg writes of has created this gang of dreamers, elites and parasites and is now reaping the consequences.
If there truly is a “crashing” of the creative culture, is it not the natural order of things? When a group no longer serves a purpose, it ceases to exist. Many of today’s working artists are entrepreneurs. They don’t have time or inclination to engage in elitism or idle dreaming. And they wouldn’t survive long as parasites. Timberg’s creative culture may be crashing but the rest of the creative world has too much to do to pay attention. They are focused on making art and that’s all that matters.
“And suddenly you know. Its time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings.” Meister Johann Eckhart (from The Painter’s Keys)
What is the magic of new beginnings? A paraphrasing of the dictionary definition of magic calls it a power that allows people to do impossible things. “Impossible things” is a wide-open description that could mean anything and everything. Many artists struggle to create a vision that lives inside. Freeing this vision feels impossible, insurmountable. Yet this vision, this inner voice is crying out. It wants to sing but how?
Sometimes it’s necessary to sweep out all the old visions, the old thought processes. That inner voice wants to sing but can’t. There’s too much Old Stuff hanging around blocking the view. The voice can’t see it’s way clear to freedom, to expression. It’s easier for an artist to quash the voice than to deal with the Old Stuff. That Old Stuff has been around a long time. It’s soft and worn and comfortable. Anything new would require the work of breaking in. Who wants to break in the new? The old is so comfortable. It’s too much trouble to change. Why bother?
That old stuff is tired, faded and dusty. Everything it creates will be tired, faded and dusty. Breaking in the new is a fresh adventure, a new beginning. Opening a path for the new voice to sing feels impossible but it’s really quite simple. All it needs is a little trust. Trust the magic of new beginnings. Once that voice is free to sing impossible things can happen. The impossible makes even the oldest rustiest tin can sing like the sweet sound of a meadowlark. Time to kick that rusty can down the road and let the magic of new beginnings sing. The impossible is happening. That old can is being replaced by the sweet sound of a new song. And that is magic.
(This is a repost of one I wrote 8 years ago. It seems prophetic now)