Illustration: Gustav Klimt. 'Medezin', 1897.
I think a lot of people today are looking for the genuine article in many forms of life including the creative arts. Perhaps for the first time in our human history we have today an extremely articulate world population, one that is fully aware of when and how they are being fed with formulas and pretences, understand when something is untrue, lacking in integrity. Although we can hope that the world of 'me' is slowly passing into the world of 'we', it has been a long time coming and may well take a long time to pass, but things are changing faster than we believed possible and although the media is still dominated by stories of greed and self-interest, it is an industry that is finding the shifting parameters of human perspective difficult to keep up with.
Today, in our pre-packaged, market-tested, no-risks world, there is a yearning for the individual, a need to connect with a personality, someone that promotes their unique perspective, that sees the world beyond what has been created for them to consume. The creative artist, in whatever field, that can connect with the world with integrity, rather than a marketing spin, that can have a genuine vision, rather than a common formula, that sees the need to help and inform others before self, is the creative artist that is needed for this twenty first century. This will indeed be a century of turmoil and distress, but it will also be a century that sees the rapid growth and expansion of the human spirit.
Illustration: Ivan Bilibin. 'Go I know not whither and fetch I know not what'.
Our expanding consciousness has the potential to transform who we are and who we are seen to be by others across both this century and into the next. The creative arts have a big role to play in that transformation, whether amateur or professional, whether working in art, design, or craft, working with materials as diverse as textiles, wood, metal, stone, or tools such as pen, brush, computer, or even the human body itself. All are vital and all can be numbered as vital, but only if integrity is part of that vision.
That is why it is important to understand and follow your true path and more importantly still to have faith in that path, no matter what others might say to the contrary. As already stated, we are fast travelling from a 'me' culture to a 'we' culture, from a culture that is competitive to one that is collaborative, from one that is confrontational to one that is understanding, from one that is oppositional to one that is supportive, from the singular to the holistic. The values treasured by the we culture are also ones, that on the whole, are valued by the creative world.
Illustration: Percy J. Smith. Opening pages of Charles Lamb's 'The Child Angel'.
To be fair, there is an element of the ego-driven in the creative arts world, there always has been, the ideal of celebrity first, artist second is one that parts of the media tend to latch on to as the norm in the art world. However, I have rarely met with that myself. Many of the people I have met in the creative arts world through the guise of The Textile Blog, have been genuine, supportive, understanding, appreciative of others and certainly supportive of those wanting to enter the creative arts world. This lastly is one of the most important elements and vital for the future health of both the industry and humanity.
If more people can be encouraged to enter the creative arena, in whatever guise, and more importantly still, be able to make a living through their creative art work, then the values and unique perspectives of this creative artistic world can become the mainstream of society, rather than that of the minority. The positive holistic approach that many artists have towards humanity and to the world at large, is one that needs to be both encouraged and expanded, and rapidly so. We need to be able to transform the broken divisive system we have and shift the emphasis of the future away from 'the way it's always been' to 'the way it could and should be'.
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