I recently stumbled upon Adam Westbrook over on Patreon who makes filmic essays about various topics.
And watched with interest a serie of 3 videos he did about creativity.
In very brief the idea behind this is that great things are only achieved through “the long game”, years of dedication and hard work and that there are in general no short cuts to achieve anything meaningful.
The Long Game Part 1: Why Leonardo DaVinci was no genius
The first one depicts how most now recognized geniuses or great artists have been “losers” for a big part of their life. At 30 years most where nowhere near what they’d be known for.
It focuses on the work of Da Vinci, showing that his first break-through was at the age of 46.
It is an important reminder that great artwork, research or inventions often need time. Time for the human to evolve, but also practical time to find the right audience and mentors that will recognize the quality of said work.
The Long Game Part 2: the missing chapter
This essay concentrate on what A.W. calls the “difficult years”.
That all geniuses and all great work is a result of many years of struggles, studies and research.
It also explains why there is such a huge pressure on young adults to be successful. Advertisement companies started to focus on the youth to sell their products, so they could continue selling those to humans during their whole life. (i.e. more profit)
And suddenly for the first time in history, “youth began to be celebrated”.
Which evidently distorts our notion of time, as everything moves faster and needs to be achieved in a short period of time.
The Long Game Part 3: Painting in the Dark
The third talks about the link between art and popularity and focuses on the work of Van Gogh.
Telling us the story of an artist whose sole audience was his brother Theo. Yet, even though he had no recognition, he kept going on and working, trying to continuously improve his work.
Through the notion of autotelic, that comes from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
To quote wikipidia :
“Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes people who are internally driven, and as such may exhibit a sense of purpose and curiosity, as autotelic. This determination is an exclusive difference from being externally driven, where things such as comfort, money, power, or fame are the motivating force.”
The essay develops the importance of having personal artistic goals without seeking for them to work or be praised, as nobody can tell that in advance, hence why it doesn’t matter to focus on possible success of an idea, but rather to just follow your concepts and projects for themselves.
In short, make art for the sake of art itself, and not for fame or money.
How does this all matter?
We live in a society that tries to tell us that success can be achieved easily and fast, that youth, fame and money are everything you should desire.
Those series are a nice reminder that what matters lies in the journey itself rather than the goal.
Art is about keeping on and creating no matter how good or bad the result is, because it is inherently a part of yourself that you need to express in something else than words.
Most artistic creation is not brilliant, mine included, and that is perfectly fine, because the joy of creation is not to make something brilliant, but to keep improving your own artistic language.