So the tension of the artist will always be wanting people on one hand to receive his exposed, bared soul work and on the other wanting them to stay out. The intensely private nature of the initiation process bangs against going public in every way.

There is a word for this: FEAR. The artist is deeply (and wisely) afraid of bearing his soul to the world. A vision, after all, is like a baby. You don’t want everyone touching a baby. The artist learns to protect and keep others at bay with the best of them.

Some great emerging artists are so good at keeping others out not even their good friends or family really know about their creative gifts. They chalk it up, incorrectly, to humility, not wanting to appear arrogant or full of themselves. Who wants to hear someone talk about their selfish obsessions, especially when that person is unwilling to actually pursue that obsession all in. It becomes either a sob story or a strategy meeting on how to “follow your heart” or “chase your dreams.”

In an effort not to appear normal (a curse for artists, see Ennneagram 4’s), the artist avoids any disclosure of artistic pursuits till the work is near a perfected state. The dangerous problem: utter isolation is a trapped door that corrupts creativity.

Soon everyone else, instead of potential receivers of your artistic endeavors, become potential enemies to your process. You get locked away further and further. Some creatives have gotten so locked in they have never come back out.

Art in the end is collaboration. It is a collaboration of human experience. Only when receptive to the human needs around us does the creative process really work. Locked inside of ourselves we are locked outside of true creative inspiration.

That is the counter-intuitive logic of inspiration. It is not found gazing upon beauty. They get a room with a view and expect the words to come flowing. It doesn’t work like that. Inspiration comes looking honestly and brutally at suffering.

Of course part of the process is isolating, but always within that context of shared suffering. If I am not really part of the human experience of life I will have less and less to really contribute to the experience of art as healing.

Art is war, but it is also healing. Art is the salve on our collective soul. It somehow unifies and connects otherwise random, disconnected pieces of the world. Without art, there is no chance to dream in color, to imagine stories of infinite meaning.

“Reason is the organ of truth. Imagination is the organ of meaning.” Art relates our experience. Without it, the world is meaningless. Sounds overstated, almost arrogant. But from the Song of Creation till now it is true, art bears meaning.

We just have to believe in it. Getting artists to believe in the value of their creative projects is no small task. They often, to a fault, assume no necessity with their work. It is simply a nice ornamentation if desired, but it is probably not desired.

It starts with the artist desiring it - believing in the potential of the project to bring healing, hope, connection. As the artist visualizes that healing and hope it starts to attract the people who need it. It’s truly a beautiful process of the universe.

When the artist gets caught in strategic marketing plans they sometimes don’t get out. That work may be necessary, but focusing on the what is the primary concern of the artist. Our job is the what, not the how. Creative spirit flow!     

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