The Thing I Wish People Would Talk About More

Stop being phony. Even if you risk looking like one.

I believe more individuals should openly discuss their creative endeavours. The time and dedication involved in the process, as well as the satisfaction derived from the act of creating, are often overlooked. In today’s economy, which is burdened by inflation and a rising cost of living, creative pursuits have taken a backseat to the struggle for survival. Trust me, tell a room of people you spend the weekend writing/painting/throwing on the wheel/developing your film, and watch as the person you speak to goes “oh…that’s…interesting,” before they retreat. It seems like those who pursue creativity are viewed as “airy-fairy” living in la-la land. Meanwhile it is a badge of pride to claim there is no time for creative pursuit.

The concept of creative expression or dedicating time to be creative has been trivialised and deemed a leisure pursuit. Furthermore, the act of creating itself has been commercialised. Influenced by social media, there’s a belief that a specific aesthetic is essential to create or be in the right mood to create. You know: a perfect beige backdrop adorned with textured cozy candles or throws. It’s also become almost obligatory to document one’s creative process, whether it’s painting, drawing, sculpting, or knitting… all must be recorded and shared via TikTok or a Reel. Even better, overlay it with right type of audio, cool lo-fi, or covers or popular music.

(What is ironic is that I’m writing this post while listening to a lo-fi playlist on Spotify).

The fact of the matter is: creativity has been a part of human existence since ancient times. It brings joy, inspiration, and optimism to humanity. It’s a myth that creativity is for the bourgeoise. The beauty of living in this day and age is the overflowing amount of information. Want to learn how to paint and sketch? A4 paper, YouTube and pencils suffice. There are lots of free tutorials out there to help those in need of a creative pursuit. I love to use the term “pursuit” when it comes to creating, simply because it is a form of escape from the humdrums and dreary labour we perform for everyone. Our creation belongs simply to us (for now, watch this space for AI and ownership).

I would love it if we can openly discuss our creative endeavours without feeling ashamed. It’s crucial to recognise that the process of creating a masterpiece takes time and effort. Platforms like Instagram Reels and TikTok tend to romanticise and expedite the creative process, creating an illusion that creative work is simple and quick. This undermines the true value of creativity and the hard work of the creator. With the introduction of AI, the focus has shifted from the enjoyment of creativity to productivity. In reality, the creative process is much more complex and the true enjoyment lies in the messy middle – the exploration and contemplation of ideas before the final product is formed.

Instead of a 15-second Reel, what about a true behind-the-scenes: maybe a three-part video that showcases how long it takes to complete a design. Perhaps then clients and leaders can start valuing creativity. Perhaps if we talk more about our creative pursuits and how it benefits our mental health, more funding can be provided to encourage creativity in classrooms and workplace.

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