(above: Seattle model Addy Evenson being drawn by me at AMDEF 2015)
We’re constantly inventing and reinventing ourselves, our personas, our internet avatars, our on-line presences, our social media selves. We like our selfies. We love to blog. We curate our accoutrements, our likes and dislikes to fit carefully crafted perceptions of what we think we are.
Welcome to the age of the Meta-Creative: “meta”, as in a concern with oneself or to the conventions of one’s own genre and “creative”: one who is original and creative (specifically, a person involved in the creation of advertising imagery).
Over 100 years ago during the last “fin de siecle” people were moving optimistically but with great uncertainty into the 20th century. Leftover notions from an increasingly antiquated 19th century were being shelved. This formed the backdrop of unprecedented developments in science and the arts.
We’re in a similar period of anxiety today in a “debut de siecle”. We find ourselves on another precarious journey into an (increasingly) unknowable next century despite what we’ve learned from the previous one. And again anxiety is the backdrop for rapid developments in technology and the arts, not to mention socio-economics, interpersonal relationships, and many other aspects of modern life that were rarely considered in the late 1800’s-early 1900’s.
The present time seems to be urging us to mollify uncertainty about the future with something we can at least be sure of: our own selves. The leveling of the playing field brought on by the internet and social media has dramatically increased the belief that anyone can be a star, if even in a 10 second movie. Powerful apps are driving self-generated creativity about…who else? Ourselves! Self promotion is what it’s all about, really.
The downside, though, is that creatively supporting the group takes a back seat to supporting just oneself as a survival mechanism. The internet/social media can provide a false sense of “community” while supporting narcissism. We are together being alone.
As an artist I can understand the need for people to express the creative urge. It’s irrepressible. Art is life itself and needs to be dealt with somehow. But absent a supportive community of (art) providers and receptors, creative effort becomes a dead end. Or at least of value only to the writer, artist, musician, choreographer, filmmaker him- or herself. An advertising creative once wrote that to be truly creative one has to be completely unselfconscious. That’s why children are so good at it, especially when they find themselves in a safe and nurturing environment.
Truly creative people aren’t necessarily motivated by the money (which may be why so few of us have much of it?). What we do desire, though, is acknowledgment and appreciation of the ideas we have and of the things we create, especially from those whose opinion we respect. And most especially if that someone is another artist.No Comments on The Meta-Creative