20 July, 2016

Inversions

You can be an awesome artist, and unsuccessful because you don't "know the right people".

You can be a terrible artist, and yet be successful because you do "know the right people".

The same applies to music making, game design, or just about any other artistic endeavour.

I'm not saying that all of the popular and successful people in various creative fields are actually rubbish, I'm saying that there are a lot of truly creative people who should be successful and should be far better recognised... but they don't because they aren't a part of the "in-crowd".

If we divide someone's life into percentages... 

There might be a person who spends 100% of their life refining their craft, and no time networking with the people around them. Their work doesn't get seen at all, maybe if they are incredibly lucky someone they know might also know someone, and the news of their work is shared to the outside world...through no effort of their own, purely by luck or happenstance. Those born into privileged families, I'll get to them later.

There might be a person who spends 75% of their time refining their craft, and 25% networking with the people around them. They'll never be quite as good as the person spending all of their effort refining their craft, but they'll be close, and the word of their work will be spread to a range of people. In turn this increases the chances that the "right" people will see the work and thus this slightly less "talented" person will recieve more accolades and remuneration for their work.

Another person my be split 50/50 between their craft and their networking. Their work will certainly not be of the calibre of the 100% artist, but the hype around such a person will be twice as big as the 75/25 artist and they'll probably have more adoring fans and even more accolades pointed in their direction.

Then we get the dabblers who spend 25% of their time on their craft, and 75% on networking. Their work will be rubbish, but since they're in contact with all the right people, no-one will say this to their face and everyone will want to be a piece of the artwork produced through sheer "emperor's new clothes" syndrome. 

A subcategory of these dabblers might be the wheelers, dealers and agents who surround the true artists like vultures. Their 25% of artistic refinement is focused on seeing what they can exploit among the artists around them. Then they use their 75% networking skills to maximise any advantage they might be able to get from exploiting the artists. They tell the artists that they have the skills to get the art into the wider community discourse, and tell the wider community that they have found the hottest new source of visionary creativity... until the artist feels too much pressure, the community moves on, or the next hot new thing catches the middle-agent's eyes. Meanwhile, the artist has put their heart and soul into something, walks away with a shadow of the benefit gained by the agent, and the agent just says "you obviously just didn't work hard enough / weren't good enough". 

I've seen it in all parts of the creative industries. Major artistic prizes given to friends of the judges, game awards given to recipients who might cause the most controversy and thus gain the most notice for the awards when the next year is decided, music royalties diverted to wellconnected "artists" who are producing rubbish when talented musicians are struggling to get a cap full of loose chance while busking on street corners...meanwhile the agents and middle-men (yes, because they are typically men) rake in more profits than anyone.

It just bugs me.

Rant over.



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