Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of drawing, specifically sitting down with my mum and drawing. Or watching her draw, or listening to her telling me how to draw. I even remember sitting in the garden, drawing a shed. Looking back part of me is in awe of my mothers parenting skills. That she was able to get a 7 year old to sit down and draw a shed. The other part wonders how much fun I missed out on, while I was drawing sheds.
Fast forward a few years though and I was enjoying drawing in school, in fact I enjoyed being creative in general. I never looked forward to Maths, English or Science, I only looked forward to art class.
Then there was a 10 year gap with no creativity – and no sheds.
Suppression appears to follow closely behind negativity – a weak person following around a bully. The most amazing thing is that we know suppression is bad but we, as a society, allow it. We are taught to suppress emotion – you must appear well at all times! People are taught to suppress creativity – It is pointless doing that, you wont make any money. Which is actually a direct quote from friends and family when I said I wanted to study art. Suppression is not a welcome figure, but society welcomes them in like a best friend.
Suppression is allowed in our lives, along with many other terrible things because of money. It walks in with a boat load of cash. Suppression with cash, stifles and blocks. It comes from many places, friends, family, colleague but also the very top. Epitomised in a speech at a school last year by David Cameron, the previous Prime Minister, when he said that kids ‘…must understand the importance of profit [from a young age]’
The importance of profit. Ugh.
Inject profit into art and you get 10 hollywood sequels, Justin Beiber and Michael Macintyre. Inject profit into art and you lose originality. Originality requires risk. If there is one thing I learned from studying economics it is that risk is not something people want. We must suppress risk! In a capitalist world, investors, bankers, the Government and the general public want a sure thing, they want certainty. That means the equation currently looks like this:
No one likes beige. Yes it serves a purpose, yes it goes well in a dining room but its does not make you question, it does not make you curious, it does not speak to you or intrigue you. Its Beige. Just Beige.
Art is a selfish endeavour, ‘I have an idea and thus I present it to you in the medium of my choice’. There is not much space for compromise, profit considerations or paying heed to risk.
The result of Beige Art is very mediocre, but very profitable – for a select few. Why is this an issue? Well if you only have a select few, the view of ‘success’ is completely skewed. Great ‘art’ in the modern world, is decided by profit. It is having your face on a billboard, your song on the radio, your movie in the top 10 box office, having 50m hits on youtube. This is what you need to be a ‘successful’ artist. How much money did you make? how many copies did you sell? how many tickets did you sell? When in reality, the only question anyone should ask an artist in any guise, is;
Did it turn out exactly the way you wanted it to?
So the few success stories in the capitalised art ideal become figure heads. The progression of the art stagnates because of the lack of risk, and thus originality. The view of the public is changed from “well done you made something you are proud of” to “thats not very good compared with the ‘successful’ art, and you haven’t got any money – get a real job and earn more money (to buy more things you don’t need)”.
You have to earn money. You have to earn more money. You must earn more. Thats the only way to be happy. If you earn more money you can buy more things – and we all love things, don’t we!? The economy will be better, you will be better, your neighbour will be better*, so buy things, and earn more. Its the perfect model. Except I don’t love things that much. Not so much that I want them at the expense of doing the things I always enjoyed – like creating.
Society’s marriage with money opens the door to suppression. That is one of the reasons mental health does not get a lot of funding – It appears there’s just not enough money in having healthy minds anymore. No profit.
My blog is my expression. My expression of my emotions, feelings and creativity. I write every word and I create every picture. They’re not going to change the world but I love it. After 10 years of asking ‘Why should I bother (if I won’t make money)?’ I’m now asking myself ‘Why not?’ – and so should you.
P.S This is the first real rant on the blog. There are no apologies however, as it will be one of many I am sure.
*I will be honest and say I was never good at Maths
*Who even talks to neighbours anymore?