Recently, I had another reminder of how hard and tiring it can be to work as a creative sometimes… It inspired me to write this article.
As you certainly know, I have a degree in Advertising for 8 years and work as a graphic designer, communication consultant & photographer for 9 years – I started gaining work experience while studying.
That’s why I can tell you that it is not easy to work in creative industries. The reasons are mostly the following:
- It is highly competitive: not easy to breakthrough.
- It evolves at a fast pace: it requires to stay up-to-date.
- It is uncertain: it is not a 9 to 5 job. That’s a fact. Creatives work mostly as freelancers, they don’t count hours and their schedule may not be filled 24/7 all year round.
- It is not really well-paid. They often need to have a bread-and-butter work.
- It is not taken seriously most of the time. « You won’t make it », « Arts? This is a hobby not a job! », « You want to work in Advertising? This is sh*t! » — True story, someone told me that once!
- In some countries, the status of artist doesn’t exist and there’s no real help and support. That’s the case where I come from.
- There are loads of clichés around creatives. Artists are often seen as eccentrics not to say weirdos who spend their time drawing, are anti-social, take drugs, and so on. Let’s be honest, some people do… but we shouldn’t paint everybody with the same brush!
And, icing on the cake, even if we are surrounded by arts 24/7, in different forms, for centuries (music, advertising, fashion, photography,…), it still has a kind of a bad reputation, it is underestimated and is not well-known by people as we tend to only see the result, not the entire creation process behind any piece of work.
The fact that creative industries are a sort of closed circle doesn’t help. It’s hard to get a toehold in them. It is as though they are reserved for an elite. Anyway, I sincerely believe it doesn’t. There’s room for everyone as long as you are passionate and working hard. But that’s not the point of this post.
I worked with all sort of clients: individuals, NPO’s, institutions, communication agencies,… It’s easier to work with the latter. Do you know why? If you’re also working in creative industries, I’m sure you do.
They know and value your work. No matter if they’re working in a different art sector and may not be qualified for or familiar with what you do. They do respect your work, knowledge and skills. This must be due to the fact they know what it is to work as a creative and the importance of art and culture.
The « earth » without « art » is just « eh » — unknown
It happens to meet people who understand and respect your work even if they aren’t in a creative environment. These people are generally curious, open-minded, sensitive and interested in others. Unfortunately, it looks like these people are rare.
I can’t count how many times I had to explain what I do « You’re drawing all day, aren’t you? »; explain the importance of what I do « hum… no, I don’t have a website. I’m on Facebook. It’s enough, isn’t it? » and draw up a price offer and got remarks like « Just for taking photos/designing a layout?! That’s expensive! »
… Seriously, guys?!
Every artistic discipline requires a minimum of technical knowledge learned at school, by yourself and/or with the help of a mentor.
Taking photographs, making videos, designing a layout, creating a logotype, designing clothes, singing, playing an instrument, etc. All of these things are not as easy to do as it seems. It takes a lot of time and energy. It requires lots of passion, patience, perseverance, motivation AND KNOWLEDGE.
And yes, some people study art at school not just for fun but to live from it. Crazy, huh? Ok, I stop with the ironic tone. I think you got my point by now 😉
So please, dear friends, if you don’t know something, be curious and ask questions. Be respectful and open. You’ll see, it changes everything as knowledge is fundamental to grow and live a happy life.
Art is an extraordinary means of communication. It is powerful, beautiful, inspiring, timeless and essential. It speaks to everyone. It can help you. Actually, it does help you in a way you can’t even imagine and don’t always see.
Do you work in creative industries or know people who do? Have you already worked with a creative? Leave a comment to share your stories.