Why Artists are Important
Why did you decide to pursue a career as a commercial artists? It may not always be clear exactly why you started. Sure, there's the trope of holding a camera, drawing a sketch, or capturing a clip – and it all seems just to click. But what's clicking – why are art and artists important?
Let's take a step back and think about the role of art in our society. We've learned about our history – our strides forward and pitfalls – through text and images. From cave paintings to trending hashtags, there's something to uncover in how our society operates. And while, of course, we often use text(s) to understand history, the Chinese proverb that "one picture is worth ten thousand words" plays into this idea that some information is better processed and understood through a visual representation. So, while we may recognize a concept like civil unrest through a history of the social, economic, and political forces that contributed to the feelings of confusion, frustration, and uproar, no amount of text can reflect and resonate as much as seeing that pain represented in pictorial form.
But, many of us aren't strictly editorial or fine art artists. That's ok; the same idea of taking a complex and intangible emotion and distilling it into its essence also applies to commercial work. While, at its most cynical, capturing/creating images for big brands can feel like a means to an end to boost profits. But instead, think about that product's or service's ability to inform or transform a consumer's life. Whether it's a tool or a lifestyle, you're delivering something of value to someone, separate from the company that hired you. And it's ok to change up your context and appreciate yourself as such.
But what if you have nagging feelings that you should have pursued a more 'practical' path? It would be surprising to meet an artist who never once faced an obstacle, internally or externally, telling them to do something that's of 'more value' to society. We get it, programmers tend to make more than commercial artists do, and we're all buying into the same idea of economic stability and growth so that we can be at peace and contribute to our loved ones and communities. You are also you – with your creative ambitions – a person who likely wouldn't feel fulfilled sitting at a corporate desk, doing something as a means to an end. It takes bravery to pursue a passion without certainty. The goal is self-actualization, and no amount of money or even fame will get you there like nursing, your interests will.
What if you feel that you love art and hate the business of it? Understandable. Many artists get little to no training in running a business, despite artists being entrepreneurs. It's ridiculous when you think about it. Artists are natural-born problem solvers, and, as with any job in any industry, there are the tasks that feed your soul and the functions that you must do out of necessity. To make art, your industry and money must follow. But luckily, you have like-minded people who love art but are better at the business angle. Healthy communities show up for one another's weaknesses. That's perfectly ok. You don't have to be an expert in everything.
So, your role is to take complex ideas, insights, emotions, and challenges and synthesize them into a visual representation that can be consumed and understood in a moment. Our role is to take that ability, connect you to the market that's hiring for it, and be that marketing backbone so that you can focus on what you do best: being of value to yourself, your audience, and your society at large.
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