A few days ago, a work colleague and I were chatting (shiz nizz). He mentioned the name of a random writer (let’s call him Joe blogs for arguments sake). “What? You don’t know who Joe Blogs is? You’re SUPPOSED to be a WRITER!” He stated. I was puzzled and hit back with: “Why should my knowledge of one person, within a particular genre of an expansive and ever growing form of creativity determine what I am?” I went away and asked fellow friends also in the creative arts, whether they too have come across the same type of assumptions. “Yes Ricky, we get that all the time, and it’s so annoying”, which is why I have decided to highlight this topic, for those that feel Conflicted. What’s important to understand is that whoever inspired me, may not be the same person that inspired you. This is a very simple fact of life – however this fact is very often ignored in the world of arts. In my composer days, attending networking parties was a chore, party because most of the directors wanted to get pissed and flirt with the newest eye candy (and they weren’t even that hot). I was told to suck up to this director or that composer, because their name is “such and such” and they are very “good”. However, when I spoke with these individuals, I found I was not the least bit interested in their work (which probably explained why I never knew of them) and they threw names of people that I either didn’t know or was not inspired by. So the question is: does knowing of such people make me better at my work? Of course not – that would be absurd, so why do so many confuse who we know with our capabilities?
I know of jay-z, but you don’t – yet you consider yourself a rapper. Does that make you less of a rapper because you don’t? Perhaps you have always listened to music from a certain country or niche, and you are happy with that, for it inspires you. Who am I to say who you are or not? That would perhaps come down to my personal opinion of listening to your actual material. In the end, what really is supposed to matter is your own content, not who we deem popular at the time. This leads me onto my final segment. If not knowing names has no bearing on who we are – why is it so important, especially in the world of creative industries and networking? The answer to this is simply: To be in an industry, you need to know a lot of people, people you may not necessarily like or admire, but to climb the ladder you may have to make the effort to discover many individuals within a creative field. That is the way it is, and for some it’s easier than others. However that still has no bearing on who you are. Whether you know of Masamichi Amano from japan or Lady Saw from Jamaica might effect how you’re seen from the eyes of arty groups and close knit circles, but it doesn’t have any bearing who you are and the work you produce. To be a true artist or creative is not about the people who know of you, or the people you know – it is doing what you enjoy, because it is who you are. Well… That’s my peace said and done. I hope you enjoyed my blog, so stick around for more to come!
If any of you have any opinions, please leave a comment. – Ricky Baxter