Maintaining Artistic Independence in a Creative Career.
The road of an independent artist is often romanticized for its bureaucratic freedoms and creative control, but it is a difficult and complex path of intersectional responsibility that requires a high level of discernment and personal accountability—carrying a greater level of liability and risk than creatives whose careers may benefit from the financial strength of corporate or privatized support. However, regardless of the absence or presence of corporate sponsorships or benefactors, every artist must function from their core as an independent in order to maintain authenticity and productivity. An artist’s independence allows for an objective assessment of career progress and creative growth in the walking out of seasons of uncertainty and prosperity.
Faith is a form of independence that is instrumental in successfully navigating the creative career path, allowing for alignment between an artist’s intuitive core and the source and author of their creativity. When an artist exercises faith in their creative walk, it prevents them from making reactive decisions influenced by fears circulating within their respective industry and environment, such as: the fear of losing, the fear or imagined threat of competitors, the fear of exclusion by peers, or the fear of missing out on monetizing their potential. Faith endows creatives and artists with the ability to stand alone during career transitions and new beginnings amidst criticism or applause from audiences, peers or associates. Faith empowers artists, providing them with the clarity and focus to see their creative vision and development through to their full fruition.
Given that silence is an intrinsic component to the creative process during the formation and fleshing out of ideas, the aforementioned level of independence and action-based faith at times can require periods of cognitive silence. Silence practiced through meditation and prayer affords the opportunity for reassessment, reflection, and self-examination towards self-awareness—a determining factor in successful decision-making throughout an artist’s career. In making the time to get silent, by shutting down all apps and distractions—social media and otherwise—a proper meter reading of choices and circumstances can be obtained.
This meditative state of cognitive silence is illustrated within scripture in the introductory chapter of the book of Psalms—through the metaphor of relationship with the Creator, as being like a tree planted by a stream of water:
“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.”
Noticeably within the passage, the tree’s only resource is the water. There are no gardeners or landscapers to accentuate its environment. No animals or birds to fill in the silence. The tree is in a state of independent growth and being—presumably through the temperature of every season that befalls it—under the gaze or scorching of the sun, and the elements of wind, rain and snow. The tree remains silently standing in faith and knowing, retaining its connection with its Creator. And although the tree has not yet produced fruit, its leaves remain healthy—with the tree’s ability to remain standing affirmed as a success.
The creative career requires independence rooted in faith in order to successfully discern the choices and circumstances of the challenges and benefits that await every artist on the road of development ahead.