As I speak to more and more people from all age groups, there is a mounting desire to be self-employed and a growing frustration in corporate drudgery. In great numbers people are cultivating creativity and trying to go it alone. The problem is that we have been taught from very young ages which jobs matter and which ones don’t; which jobs make money and which will lead to a life of suffering.
At the top of the suffering jobs list is art. Parents worry about their kids when they want to grow up and be artists because it is a notably unstable profession. No one wants their kids to struggle. But what about the, dare I say, equal importance of struggling and succeeding? All the better if that struggle is in pursuing something you love instead of struggling against a job you hate.
Either way you were raised or what you were taught to believe, there is a growing trend toward creativity in the workplace and jobs in art. That desire often comes with conflict, as though responsibility and art are directly opposed to each other. If there is a cultural shift toward creativity, there needs to be an economic shift in that direction as well; our actions must perpetuate the creation.
We need to learn to value art like we value other commodities. If you ask the average person, they would likely say that buying a car is an easier investment than buying art. Naturally so – buying art is frivolous and buying a car is responsible. But is that really true? Let’s dissect what it means to invest in art, for yourself and for others.
There have been massive renaissances throughout history that favor beauty, desire, and art. These periods of time are ones that we look on with fondness, a more idyllic time that allowed us to partake in art as an everyday cultural experience rather than an elitist activity. Perhaps we’re moving into one of those art renaissance periods.
Investing in art brings about social, cultural, and economic changes. Socially, we learn to stop putting artists down for having ‘self-indulgent’ jobs. If we invest in art, we make art a natural part of our lives, one that brings a greater attention to beauty and darkness, to introspection and deep thinking. Culturally it brings attention back to those things that weave the fabric of our societies together. It highlights trends in popular and low-brow thinking, waves of inspiration centered around the time we currently live in, and informs us of how we evolved out of trends of the past.
Investing in art economically allows artists to thrive, and in doing so gives weight to those who are driven, creative, and forward thinking. In this great technological boom, a time that could be defined by mass tech and assembly lines, we see more artists than ever before stepping out with that technology and creating wild, mind-bending works. Those creations aren’t purely aesthetic or frivolous, though; they give us a lens to see our culture, our shortcomings and successes, and our place in the world. They teach us how to engage in business and relationships more freely and creatively. And most importantly, they teach our youngest generation how to incorporate creativity into every part of what they do.
Trends show that the more creative an individual is in all aspects of life – business, relationships, personal and beyond – the more successful they become. The rules of the economy are changing. I graduated college at the start of the recession in the United States and fell into my normal – a world where jobs aren’t secure, where a steady career isn’t guaranteed with a college degree, and where I have been continually rewarded the weirder and more creative I get.
I take that as personal proof of change for myself and others in my generation. The more we invest in art, the more we show the next generation that art is a worthy thing to pursue; that your vision and your unique voice is valued and heard. If you have something to say, you can not only say it, but succeed in saying it. In a world where art is valued, individuals are valued. Free thinking and creativity are pulled into the limelight. And in a world where those values are praised, artists can rise into beautiful inclusion in the topic of worthwhile careers.
If we want individuals to believe their voice matters, we need to begin investing in art. Through the commitment to personal expression, we create a world where anyone can change the future.