Inspired by a conversation I had with a fellow blogger, I have one important thing to say to people:
STOP. SQUASHING. ARTISTS!
Stop beating people down into the ground!
Stop critiquing people into crippling self-doubt!
If someone likes to make art, then let them!
I’ve worked with and been around a lot of creative people. And I was once a burgeoning creative kid. And you know what works? What we should be doing with our family members, children, students, friends, and coworkers that decide they want to do things with art?
Goddamn it, let them!
Who cares if they cannot make a career out of it? Who cares if it’s a little messy, a little rough?
Art is good for the soul. Everyone wants to feel like they can make an effect on the world, however small, and if you have a young child who finds himself or herself doodling in his/her spare time, or reading during recess, then it will do him/her a world of good just to have an outlet.
Because, when you find a child who exhibits some spark of the dreaming, the artsy, the fanciful, you only have two outcomes. Either the world that has so much hatred for anyone who wants to bring a little beauty into it gets smacked into apathy—or they keep exploring this creative drive.
The world will not be kind to them most of the time. And if you rob them of this one thing, you are not doing them any favors. You might break them.
I’ve seen it. I’m glad to say some people pick themselves back up. But not a lot of them.
It makes me really angry to see….
And actually, some people do make a career out of being creative and entertaining. The old world is not the new, the internet changed it all in a big way.
Being a YouTuber is not only a legitimate job a good number of people have—it’s also such a common term my spellcheck didn’t question it.
And if that does not mark a word as legitimate, then I need a new measuring stick.
Here’s what I found workable when you come across a creative person: validate the hell out of them. Make them feel like they and their creative endeavors have worth. For the first while, just point out everything they did well.
You don’t even have to use constructive criticism yet. Just make them confident in one or two of their creative abilities. I have almost never met a person brave enough to put themselves out there artistically who did not have an aspect of creation they were good at doing.
Elevate their confidence and try to get them to create more. Trust me that practice does indeed make perfect, and if the person feels they are expanding they will eventually find their own errors and work on them.
No one is a worse critic of an artist’s work than the artist himself. NO ONE.
And then, only then, once they are producing, once they are putting out good quality work and feel like they have a handle on it do you even consider trying to help them with a shortcoming.
Because momentum is a real aspect of work and life and habit and improving oneself. And they should have a full enough head of steam to not stop even when they have to go back and fix stuff.
And you know what: if they are just doing it for themselves or as a hobby—which is not a bad thing at all—then you don’t even need to add in your own “critical analysis”. It’s not like it’s their job, and it makes them happy.
Though for the ones who want to take it far enough for a career, well, it’s another beast. Make sure they don’t go submitting to organizations too early because the slush pile is not as kind as you (a supportive friend) would be, and that same slush will tear them to shreds if they do not have the gumption.
But that’s another argument, another article, another rant for another day.
My point is: an artist is fostered. The environment that an artist grows up in, explores in, will affect where they go. Nurture matters more than nature in this regard. And if more people took the time, we could create a world of actively creative people.
And, in the long run, that might do a lot to reduce hatred and insanity and violence in our world.
I think it would drastically improve the mental condition of humanity.