Being creative in a global recession poses many challenges. We question our value and what we can do to sustain an income constantly. All around us are people who seem more successful, wealthier, more together and there we are, just trying to make the most of what talent we have been gifted with.
The good news is most of us feel in the same boat. Last week I went to a conference ‘Beyond Angels, Elephants, Good intentions and Red-Nose rebellion – What is the Future of Public Art?’.
I work in the public realm and wanted to find out from peers, commissioners and other artists what the future holds for the work we make. It doesn’t look good. There is a lack of new building in both public and private sectors. There is a shift to encouraging philanthropy and moving in line with our UK Conservative Governments ‘Big Society’ IE: the shift to local responsibility.
What was clear is that there is a big change afoot, structures are breaking down and the way public realm artist’s practice will need to adapt these changes and fit in with the Arts Councils GAE policy (Great Art for Everyone).
What is certain is that we need to innovate our way out of trouble and make changes. We need to find allies and collaborators. We need to work out whether we are making our work for ourselves, for clients with money or for society’s greater good.
What came across from the conference in the end was that it is a sink or swim moment (I thought paddle furiously was more apt) where we can ride the current wave, be flexible and open to new creativity and opportunity so that our creative work and way of life can survive, albeit in a new form.
Whatever happens to the world, do we stay on our course or rework and reinvent what we do? It can depend on what kind of work you make but to my mind any artist and creative has the potential to broaden their audience and their potential income stream with some good lateral and creative thinking. I am seeing it for myself through social networking in Twitter and on Facebook.
How do you feel about creativity in a recession? Do you feel too enraged to be creative or spurred on by a desire to continue and be better? Who are your allies and how can you help each other?
I have personally been using MyIdeasBook for six months now and it’s been a slow process trying to gather inspiration that excites me alongside everything else I do. Yes, I have often questioned what the point is too. But it’s actually paid off as a spark of an idea for a new project and way of making work has been brewing. Last week, I tentatively pitched my idea (after running it through the MyIdeasBook Think Tool of course) to an experienced art consultant.
And what-do-you-know? She loves it. And she reckons it’s a goer and will help me realise it. So I am now taking the steps to make it happen. I have so much work to do! But it is OK because the idea excites me and brings together many things I am fascinated by and love doing. The project also has many potential outlets and avenues to be explored.
Without creating MyIdeasBook I would have never got to this point. It has forced me push my fascinations to a new point in making my art. I will be extremely lucky if I can get any more glass commissions in the future so to be innovating and working with allies to forge a new path in my practice is my ‘swim’ reaction. This project could tick boxes and bring value to my practice, potential clients and a wider audience all in one swoop. Ill let you know how it goes.
It can be hard to take the time to accumulate your inspirations to give yourself that space and love; I know I am an artist! But all I can say is really give it a go. You never know what it could help you develop. Give yourself that time and focus.