What separates the lives of people like David Bowie, Syd Mead, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Brian Eno and Ridley Scott from those of the countless generations that have come before and since? What separates those special individuals from the swarms of other humans who have existed? Some might say, the fact that true artists dedicate themselves wholly to their work is no different from a mother who is devoted to her children or a carpenter who has perfected the craft of woodworking. So what makes creative people’s exploits stand out? Why do we remember them above all others?
Either through circumstance or force of personality, some people refuse to let their inner child die. Even as fully gown adults they have an absolutely free spirit and playful nature. This inhibition is one of the principle contributing factors to someone pursuing a creative career path. They’re able to look at any situation with the exuberance and playfulness of a child.
Most artistic professionals channel their creation through some medium and as such, become the practitioner of a craft. Whether that be as an illustrator, musician, writer, video game coder or cinematographer, they find satisfaction (and also frustration) whilst perfecting their craft. The more energy and time they spend doing, the greater the affinity they have for it. It soon becomes second nature. Creative people often start thinking in terms of the creative pathways they’ve built up for themselves and a sort of internal momentum sets in. Sadly, many frustrated artists never even make it to the momentum stage when they see their creativity pays off and that proverbial ball starts to roll.
Many people pursue work in creative fields because they have a strong desire for connection. They’re looking to connect with other humans. Maybe you’re not the best conversationalist, so you take up writing. Maybe you’re bad at interfacing on an emotional level, so you start painting. Communication is how so many people thrive and grow. And for many using a creative medium to fully express themselves is the only way they are capable of doing so. Once you start expressing yourself, you don’t want to stop. You want to continue. You discover that you have things to say and you want to be heard.
Creativity is possibly the most human impulse. It starts as far back as the cave paintings of Lascaux, continues through to the Sistine Chapel, the Renaissance up through the 1920s, the 1970s and on to what artists and musicians are doing today. The urge to be understood and comprehended never goes away, but some individuals take it to the point where it can help everyone. We all gain a greater sense of understanding by observing a moving piece of artwork or hearing a new piece of music. Creative people work to refine the urge within all of us, they cultivate expression and perfect it to its moment of conclusion.