Speaking Up For Our Community
So this has been something I've been aware of since I was at University- that I have been incredibly lucky as a Creative. Not to say that I've had it easy, because in truth I'm harder on myself than probably warranted which has resulted in me not going for a lot of opportunities because of my severe lack of self belief.
But that's not what I'm talking about today. I feel incredibly lucky because of the network I have around me. I'm not necessarily inundated with creative minds in my immediate circles, but
I'm lucky enough to have an incredible support system around me who don't belittle what I want to do and the kind of person I want to be.
It's kinda heartbreaking to say I know of people who didn't have that luxury.
Growing up, I was always drawing or creating something. Anything arty-farty was something I excelled in and felt really lit up about. I have various memories throughout my childhood which are literally where I've been doing artwork and it's made me thoroughly happy, both at the time and also to look back. With this in mind, and the fact my parents never tried to sway me away from doing something I really wanted to do (within reason, we all need to make money, right?) I was absolutely flabbergasted when I left my little hometown and began to hear about other support systems or lack of I should say.
There's a lot of chatter in the creative community about being expected to work for free and such, but I wonder if we need to talk more about the effort that goes into creative work. What we do, whether graphic design, illustration, knitting, motion design, film making, fine art or photography- it takes a hell of a lot of time. The time it takes to practice what you do and improve your skills, the money it costs to buy the supplies and then buy the better quality supplies (paper, paint, pens, software, tech, lenses, needles, fabric, studio space) the list is endless of the money, time and effort that goes into the work we do. So when I hear people being dissuaded from doing 'painting and decorating' (which is a respectable profession in itself) and being discarded as a real life job I get irrationally angry, and I think other creatives should too.
Even if you've never had to endure a conversation with someone who doesn't understand how you make money by 'making pretty things' or 'making posters' or whatever else you've heard,
I think we should all speak up for those who do have to have those conversations.
I'm very lucky to only have had a small number of these chats which were met more with curiosity than condescending tone, but I can't imagine being someone out there who feels like they can't be who they want to be because other people don't get it. As a community we need to speak up about our profession and make it clear why it's important.
In a society where everyone seems more and more in tune with 'design' we're still hugely underrated and sort of looked down upon when it comes to value for money. The shops we look in because the window display looks great, the books we pick up because the cover caught their eye, the menu's we look at and notice the style before the food choices- these are the reasons we need to educate the everyday person how important graphic design, motion design, textile design, web design is, because we are the ones who will be (hopefully) making those items for them.
I hope that the world as a whole can start to realise what a large part we as a Creative Community play in everyday life and start to appreciate our value for what our services provide. This is obviously a huge wish, but I feel that the more we all speak up for each other the sooner the rest of the world will see we are just as important as every other industry. We need to set examples for the young creatives out there finding their feet, teach them that the creative industry is as satisfying, rewarding, prosperous and the rest as every other job out there.
I want to stop hearing people call what I do 'painting and decorating'
(again no offence, it's just not what I do). I want to hear parents support their kids and make them believe they can make a living in a job that actually makes them happy, just like mine did.
Who supported you when you were growing up? Who encouraged you to do what made you happy?