Where does the concept of the starving artist come from? Why do most creatives rant about not working for free? Why do most creatives give up their crafts and go look for a “real job”? How have some succeeded and built world-class empires?
Without talking a lot and getting into theories, I want to say this: the one difference between world-class creatives and the starving ones is a team. And till a creative can look beyond his or her talent and find others to fill in the missing pieces, he/she will forever struggle. You see, you can’t wear multiple hats for long, you can’t do social media, sew, cook, draw, design, talk to clients, handle accounting, monitor supplies and everything that goes into making your craft, all at the same time. I mean you could, but it will take you about a month to do what a team can do in days or hours.
Another thing many creatives have to bear in mind is that not everyone is called to be a creative director, lead singer, lead artist or any other creative leadership role. Creatives who are unable to submit to others who are called to such roles usually struggle the most or create substandard work.
When we hear of brands like Louis Vuitton, Chocolate by Kweku Bediako, BMW, Daniel Arsham, Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh, Serge Attukwei Clottey (Afrogallonism) etc, we usually hear of the lead artist or creative director but behind the scenes is an army of assistants and creatives who get paid well enough to take good care of their families. Many creatives want the glory of being called a creative, but it truly is all about knowing your place and purpose. And the quicker many creatives find this out, the easier it will be for them to live a happier and more fulfilling life.
Lastly I want to say the future lies in collaborations. Gone are the days where we had only one artist in the whole village. Today there are millions of creatives all trying to go their way as creatives. Sadly many are starving in the process. To succeed, many creatives are going to have to come together to form new brands that focus on their shared goals. The egos need to go out the door for big visions to thrive. These are the brands that will win and change the creative landscape for the coming years.
Will you and your crew be one of them?
Do share your thoughts.