I was speaking to a friend of mine earlier today who was telling me how he was struggling with the social pressure of creating art. He’s a music producer who writes and releases music for a living, something he has dreamt about since the beginning of his journey. So you could say he’s living the dream right? Or at least, his dream. So what’s the problem?
Well, he’s built up a pretty large following over the last three years, but he’s now come to a point in his career where he wants to change direction. He wants to ‘update’ his sound to reflect his more developed taste and create as he describes it: “something more original, something more me”. This post serves as a part two to yesterday’s entry which explained why you shouldn’t limit yourself to only one genre as an artist. In fact, I believe this conversation happened as a direct result of him reading that post.
I haven’t ever been in his position, at least, not with an audience of that size. So I recommended him a book (Steal like an Artist) and left him with two quotes from that book, the first of which comes from Brian Eno:
“My interest in making music has been to create something that does not exist that I would like to listen to. I wanted to hear music that had not yet happened, by putting together things that suggested a new thing which did not yet exist.”
The second comes from the author, Austin Kleon:
“The manifesto is this: Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use — do the work you want to see done.”
I love both of these as I think they simplify what work you should be creating as an artist. You shouldn’t be feeling a social pressure to produce anything because you’re creating for yourself. The best part about this is that it doesn’t even matter if anyone likes what you create because your work will always have a guaranteed audience of at least one, you.