The Creative Echo: Why Artists Persevere

Recently, my film campaign flopped. After a successful, award-winning book trilogy and a new graphic novel, I thought for sure that our film project was a 
no-brainer.

We were resurrecting old folklore and legends from around the world using new media. Everyone we talked to loved the idea and the work product coming out of Detroit was inspiring.

Some people marveled at the success we earned with our Detroit grit and stick-to-it-tiveness.

Then it all went wrong. It felt like failure.

We were welcomed into the world of creative people who strove for commercial acceptance and lost.

Now, I know what it is that drives us to create, that’s easy. It’s in our DNA. Like most creatives, we express ourselves through poetry, art, song, film, and all of the other things that touch humanity in a non-utilitarian way.

But like every artist, there is something inside us that wants to be accepted, acknowledged, validated in the eyes of the general public. We hate to admit it, but art for art sake is a half-truth.

Creatives are human beings and human beings are social animals. We may say that we don’t care what everyone else thinks about our art, but we do.

Some of us will never be accepted. It doesn’t stop us from creating, but it does sometimes make us sad, depressed and anti-social.

We care very much because art and creativity are the echoes of humanity.

If our echo is not heard, then we feel that our work is flat, derivative or even worse… untrue. Our worst fear (though we may deny it to the death) is having a voice, an echo that is never heard.

Jose Llorens of Elite Daily noted that:

Creative minds have special mechanisms that distinguish them from society’s normality. They put pieces together like jigsaw puzzles and manage to connect the dots as precisely as possible.

It is important to realize how invaluable a creative mind truly is in our modern world. Without creative minds, you would be in a deficit of filters for your Instagram photos, selfies for whatever you please and Facebook updates for a sense of instant affirmation from your “friends,” so to speak.

With a drastic increase in technological advancement comes the drastic increase of instantaneous gratification from our everyday lives. We want affirmation immediately; we want our desires to be fulfilled and we don’t want to wait longer than 10 seconds for any of this to happen.

More than anything, this creates an ongoing dilemma for the creative individual, as anonymous pressures of societal conformity can interrupt the creative flow. It isn’t predetermined, but rather, a process filled with personal experiences and external inspirations.

When you are filled with creative energy to draw, act, sing or partake in anything that involves creating an idea, life isn’t always as easy as the successes portray it to be. We live in a society where conformity is the norm and if you aren’t part of the norm, you are essentially a crazy outsider.

So there is the conundrum.

We are driven to create, regardless of acceptance. But this elusive acknowledgement of our art is the thing that we may deny, defy and denounce, yet still covet as the ultimate expression of our voice echoing into eternity.

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