Image – Anthony Gormley, Passage (2007)
Soundtrack – What Shouldn’t I be, Sampha
After an abysmal Friday, which delivered a succession of bad news, it only feels right to reflect on the predictions, expectations and anticipated anxieties of the remaining journey.
In the true fashion of an impatient millennial, four months of planting seeds are swiftly followed by an overwhelming frustration of a lack of bountiful produce. I realise I have compounded my somewhat naive entitlement of success with the challenge set by ‘Emerging Journal’. It’s fair to say that this journal acts as a prime example of how a journey typically lasting up to 5 years, is expected to condense to the academic year (10 months). All this does is accelerate a turbulent timeline, that doesn’t pull its punches for the naive and ignorant.
// It further disturbs my faith in the academic system when teachers knowingly send their students into the real world unprepared…but what’s worst is being saddened by the sight of willing teachers hands being tied, unable to do anything about it.//
Be under no illusion, this path is not for all, particularly in a society where the current generation is overeducated, underpaid and misrepresented. Currently, there is an official requirement to present the equivalent of 3-5 years experience before being employed. Unbelievable I know, but this is only the beginning, as many testimonies will attest to. On the other hand, there seems to be peculiar punishment for those who endure and continue down an independent path, manifested through Indirect warnings to concede or be exiled, only to be allowed through the proverbial “door” once feeble or accepted as undeniable once appreciated elsewhere.
It only becomes clear how well this behaviour is ingrained when you challenge those who make a living out of making it their objective to complain about the system they exist within. However, the hustle continues, the necessity to operate on fumes is your only option, (so says the non-conformist).
As stated previously, the learning curve is only being identified as I take the turn, so recovery time is short, yet the predictions were accurate, the expectations of successes and failures have epically surpassed my original hypotheses for the better and worse. All the while anxieties have grown and spread as the stakes in the game have risen. This isn’t just about being in renowned spotlights (exhibitions & publications), but about successfully simultaneously establishing an infrastructure in which your practice can operate. Unfortunately, at this stage in the journey, we find ourselves vulnerable on multiple fronts, but more dangerously oversensitive.
It’s important to recognise that The equation of oversensitivity is simple mathematics, some have classified it as the calculated sacrifices made for those 10,000 hours (the supposed amount of time until a successful breakthrough within your industry), others equate it to the detriment to their health working 14 hour days. I believe George Lois broke down the calculation, the most eloquently and effectively thus far, he stated that each great work is comprised of ‘1% Inspiration, 9% perspiration, 90% justification’ To put it more humanely, doubt is to creatives what water is to architecture.
From where I stand, reaching the end of the tunnel results in one of two outcomes:
The extra-curricular creative, where purity is sustained but only by 30% of your schedule, sectioned to subdue your creative addiction. Meanwhile, 70% of your time is spent amassing financial independence through unrelated means to subsidise your guilty, please.
The creative entrepreneur, who divides their practice into three sectors descending in financial value; seeing 50% of your practice allocated to lucrative applications, 30% recognised as a signature style with commercial collaborations and the remaining 20% reserved for avant-garde experimentations and explorations.
I’m still yet to decide whether both avenues are bleak and too heavily compromised.
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