How fully do you embrace your artistic freedom? That’s a really important question, maybe one of the most important questions, facing anyone who wants to do meaningful work.
I listened to Moby in an interview recently. He was explaining that when he started out in music, he wanted to be able to do everything himself. He wanted full artistic freedom.
I really enjoy Moby’s music and find his approach to his art inspirational. I also absolutely get why artistic freedom matters so much to him.
What I didn’t realise until hearing Moby’s interview, was that he and I are the same age. When Moby started his music career and I started my business, we took different paths. However, we were both creative professionals in an era before the Internet.
It wasn’t until a decade later, that digital publishing and self distribution arrived. It changed everything. Forever. Back then, if you were a creative professional and you wanted to reach thousands of people with your work, you needed Radio stations, TV stations and newspapers to cover you. You needed to be selected by someone.
You needed permission… not to produce your work, but for it to be put in front of a large audience.
Today, you have full artistic freedom
Thankfully, you don’t need permission today. It’s down to you. Just you. You can get your work out there by yourself and if it’s good enough and you’re both smart and you persist, you can make it. You can get your; video, music, designs, dance routine, poetry — whatever, published to an unlimited potential audience.
Back when you needed permission, if you wanted lots of visibility, it really helped if you fit into whatever the fashion of the moment was.
Today, the exact opposite is true.
Today, the more you embrace your full artistic freedom and do your own thing, the more likely you are to get noticed. Those who appreciate your art will immediately resonate with it. Moreover, because you have a global audience, you can be as niche as you like and still have no trouble finding your audience.
Rather than embrace this artistic freedom, most artists are still trying to be just like (whoever). The problem with that approach is that it fails on every level. It leaves them unfulfilled and unknown.
- It fails them, because they are not allowing their own stars to shine.
- It fails their audience, because they don’t get to enjoy the artist’s best work.
- It fails to make a meaningful impact, because it’s not their art.
The challenge right now is that the thing that feels risky is actually the safest thing you can do and the thing that feels safe, is the sure path to nowhere.