Most artists aspire to achieve a portfolio of evergreen work that, per the legendary Nina Simone, “reflects the times”, while remaining culturally relevant throughout the decades, across demographic divides. This can be a difficult bar to set and meet for creatives working within the seasonal constraints of entertainment and commercial industries that revolve around trends and discourage against the artistic freedom and exploration that engineers the synchronicity of talent, universal language and zeitgeist. In a sales-driven marketplace where trends dictate artistic visibility and commercial power, how can artists cultivate and retain the creative independence that yields impactful content?
This level of independence can be discovered and maintained by acquiring an evergreen state of creativity through the continual replenishment and renewal of the spirit. Given that humanity is largely a spiritual experience framed through the lens of the human body and mind, per French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin—and also serves as an artist’s instrument through the expression of his craft, as noted by jazz master, Wayne Shorter—spiritual health serves as a key component in fostering the artistic independence that ultimately gives voice to the universal language that unifies across cultural borders.
For artists and creatives, the spiritual health at the heart of evergreen creativity can be cultivated through various practices, including prayer and meditation, as well as an evergreen faith, as sourced through a relationship with the Creator—the author and source of individual creativity. This evergreen level of faith serves towards the continual cleansing of obstructive thoughtlife and conditions that impede creative exploration—while sustaining the leaves and potential blooms of an artist’s creativity and craft throughout their career arc.
This evergreen level of faith is highlighted throughout the Psalms within scripture, as voiced by King David—whose hymns illustrate the restorative, self-renewing nature of his faith in the Creator amidst circumstances of victory and defeat, as seen in the following passage:
“I have so many enemies, Lord,
So many who turn against me!
They talk about me and say,
God will not help him.
But you, O Lord, are always my shield from danger;
You give me victory
And restore my courage.”
The results of evergreen faith are also highlighted in the following psalm by David, which serves as a metaphor for artists towards the level of faith and relationship with the Creator that yields a strong and fruitful creativity that weathers circumstance and endures over time:
“They are like trees that grow beside a stream,
That bear fruit at the right time,
And whose leaves do not dry up.
They succeed in everything they do.”
When artists center their creative walk and disciplines in faith and relationship with the source of their creativity, they are able to achieve a unique and unfettered creativity through their gift that gives voice to the universal language of art that unifies, beautifies and illuminates across culture, demographics and generations.