“Fully engaging the arts requires a suspension of our immediate interests and knowledge.” -C.S. Lewis
You’re here, and I ask of you to make it to the end of this blog. Not for me, but for the artists in your circle. Do it for your art friends.
Perhaps your friend wrote a book, and you keep telling them you’ll get around to it. Perhaps someone has invited you to an event in which “something always come up.” Perhaps a fellow in your workspace wants some feedback on the project they’ve been into, and you’ve rescheduled 3 times for coffee. Whatever it is, there’s no time for it.
I do not doubt the importance and relevance of your immediate tasks. There is little time in the day and mental energy dwindles, but allow me this short argument of why you should invest in the work of others with your time:
1.) In order to determine whether the work is legitimate. That being said, it is best not to sit above the prospective work as some more successful, more accomplished being doing a service to peasant local artists. Clear 20 minutes out of the end of your day, or at your lunch, and investigate with an open mind. Empathize with the desire others have to see their work impact people. Let the work change you. Many a time I have been pleasantly surprised by the creative capacity of my peers. Their work in a sense is them. Get to know them better. Then you will recognize if their work is genuine or not.
2.) Working in a vacuum limits our own creative flow. Think of all the things that inspire you. Why not allow some of those inspirations to be your fellow artists? Do not be threatened by either skill or ambitions, even if they may be greater than your own! Instead, absorb them, support them, and give credit where credit is due. Ironically, supporting the work of others may intern benefit your own.
3.) Art is relational. Communities are unconsciously refined by good art. We are impacted by the works of others everyday, so get in on some of that community with some local art friends. Show your support by learning their projects in little ways, ANYWAY YOU CAN. Don’t be so quick to judge their work, just as you would not wish a person would quickly judge you. Build something together.
With every push, there is a pull, so allow me one final counter point for the sake of rational. If you abandon your work ENTIRELY for the support of others you are doing an injustice to yourself. There is a balance to be found. Unfortunately, If I took it upon myself personally to engage in every influence I’ve been offered, then I would have no real time to also create. Sometimes you must say no. The barrage of influences begin to diminish in their return if you never have time to put them into action with your own creation.
All in All, support the work of others, and allow yourself to be impacted by their work. You’ll be a stronger, more well-fueled creative for it. Thank you for reading.