September 24, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

You are not a machine.

I live on the outskirts of a town that seems to think artists and writers are such.

Replaceable, disposable. I guess it could be said for many occupations. But I feel closer to the way artists and writers are treated because I see it first hand. But also because what many artists and writers bring to the party, is not just another worker making a widget ( and please, I have all due respect for those.) But many times the creativity is the life blood of what these companies are selling. How can you put a value on it? They will tell you what value they put on it, because they think you are a dime a dozen.

But you are not. And they know it. They just don’t want you to know it.

I feel that creativity is not an unlimited resource, much like many resources that are being mined. It can be burned out.

Be aware of what you are selling. How much you are selling. Keep some for yourself. Be greedy when it comes time to negotiate your work. Know your worth. Don’t undersell yourself.

Yes, a lot of creative businesses are having a tough go right now. But what I see is content decisions that don’t take risks . That’s what I feel is  hurting the industry. Not the thousands of incredibly talented people that make up the work force.

But you are an artist no matter who you work for. Whether it’s a big brand name that sounds good at a party, someone who sells work on Etsy or ebay. You have your own voice. And it’s relevant.

Don’t let someone else tell you your worth. You are a creative force. You have a contribution to give. You are not a machine.

This entry was posted in Animation, Business as Unusual, Serious Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to September 24, 2012

  1. Jane says:

    As someone living on the outskirts of the same town, I’m always grateful for any reminder that as challenging as an artistic career can be, it’s worth it. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that someone is only an artist when they’re working (I think that’s actually something actors are told from time to time). But if we allowed ourselves to think that way, we’d never try anything. Thanks for the much-needed affirmation. 🙂

  2. Matt Stevanus says:

    Profound truth, Joe.

  3. John Joy says:

    It’s been awhile since I’ve chimed in here…but I wanted to jump back into the discussion.
    You are 1 of 2 blogs I follow. Your posts are phenomenal, and consistent!! I think #2 trumps #1 more often than not. Being consistent and staying with all of the good and bad that accompanies being creative is an impressive feat.

    I agree with you 100%. No one goes to the Louvre and asks about the prices of each painting. They admire the work. No one remembers if Notre Dame was on time and under budget. Artistry and risk-taking trumps everything else over time. No one will ever remember a sculpture “that is going to be amazing if I just find time to make it and someone to buy it.”

    Producing anything is valuable and makes you valuable.

  4. Nichole says:

    I love it. I’ve been struggling with the pressure to act like a machine, and to put immense value on things that don’t really matter. Being a “young professional” (ugh, gross, doesn’t work for me), there is a perceived notion that everything I do is for my “career.” I’m more than content to work at a job that I get a lot of learning from, and use my extra time to explore my creative pursuits. I don’t need to break my back 60 hours a week for a meager 401k and no guarantee of job security (if this economy has taught me anything). I am a human, with facets. I am better at my job when my life is several parts “work,” love, spiritual and physical practice, and curiosity.

    I guess it’s a perception that my generation feels entitled to things. Most of us don’t. We’re making do with what we have, but our priorities are different. We’re not reaching for the big house and 2 cars and bucketful of TVs, so we’re not going to behave like past generations. It’s not a bad thing, we’re just different.

    I see your pressure to conform, and raise you a life to live.

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