As of late I have been interested in learning about 3D and 4D digital artwork. Looking through youtube for the fight tutotal to spark my interest, I came across this metallic and pastel art work that falls right into my interest. On my screen was a very kind and amusin woman giving instructions on how to create this digital artwork. They were friendly, relatable, and gave great and easy to follow directions. These two women Nicole Jonasson and Ida Lissner are designers and artists and now the creators and owners of SOFTER. Softer is a work-in-progress platform ready to change the narrative that tech is hard, a network for shaping Softer digital futures.
Through their studio and digital platform they provide tutorials, live streams, residencies and more. What I really like about them is that they found a way to make the tech and digital art world softer for those that need it, especially newcomers. Within their program they have worked with a diverse group of people; tech-activist, artistic directors, dancers, writers, organizers, researchers, the list goes on. I see art as a multifaceted medium and I can appreciate people that understand what artists look like and can do many things – that art is actually in the middle of all of our interests and talents.
I really want to learn digital using tools like blender which is a 3d/4d motion graphic software. I’m not a gifted painter or illustrator so this would allow me to do that in a way I’m used to. I see myself using it in my photography, videos, flyers and other graphics. In the future I could sell them as NFTs, potentially.
Over the past years I have had the honor to be friends with many artists and entrepreneurs. If you are not familiar, New Rules is a multi-use space on the northside that people can use for an array of things like gallery shows, art studio, performance space, and private events and parties. This space has been of great use to the community and many people have benefited from this space. There are also spaces like Public Functionary which provides gallery space and studio space for arts. Recently, my friend Jojo was a part of creating Banana Leaf which is another space for young artist to work out of. Inspired by all of this I can only dream of creating my own space. I love the idea of multi-use spaces, whether its a cafe, gallery, event space, studio or library, I like the variety. This space would host community dialogues, pop-ups, movie nights, workshops and musical performances. I would want this space to be a cultural hub for creation and community. I am inspired by nature and art so I want this space to be calming yet inspirational. When I travel to spaces like New York and Mexico City, I am reminded how space, people, environment and culture are intertwined. This is ideally how I envision my space to be.
This article goes through how social media negatively impacts your creativity. As someone that uses social media a ton, I have to disagree with many of the perspectives. I don’t think that social media’s impact on creativity is as bad as this author makes it out to be.
Ben believes that technology reduces creative thinking; daydreaming, concentration, attention, and patience. I think these concerns are fine but I often see people forget to point out that this is only due to how much someone may spend using technology and the wrong tkinds of technology. This is also due to how someone might be using it, we don’t have these same concerns for people that spend time on technology coding, in school or reading. This is a very specific narrative for people that use social media apps.
Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat
Ben argues that spending so much time navigating through these apps keeps us from doing useful things like reading, exercising and socializing. I agree if you aren’t doing any of those things but during the pandemic we saw that social media is actually a tool to be able to do these things from anywhere. There are many fitness pages on social media, there are many authors and think pieces that get published daily and social media is one of the most useful tools when it comes to socializing.
Social media is killing the truth…do you agree? I feel that’s especially in the Trump era and how easily false information or propaganda can spread. I don’t think this has to do with society but instead how as society we have a hard time dicing on what’s right and honest. This makes it so false narratives or unpopular opinions are perceived as true. If you were going to believe in false stories, the newspaper can provide that.
Now this author Ben doesn’t completely hate or think social media is the end of creativity. He points out some positives; Social media expands our knowledge and allows us to develop work and social skills, both things can and will lead to creativity. So in the end I think it all falls in the hand of the user. Personally, social media and technology has pushed my creativity as I’m able to learn from all over the world and be inspired by the things I see online.
With the state of the creative industry (and general work), we have the privilege of many different forms of ork. There is the option to work a 9-5 in corporate america, within nonprofits, be a contractor, or a freelancer and the final option, start your own business. If leadership and the industry doesn’t fit how we want to work, there’s power in creating your own thing. As Gen Z we are dealing with more than most. We have access to more information than anyone before which gives us read and centurie with of knowledge and data to analyze our day to day lives. We are tired and hurt by many things; climate change, wages, legislation, and health care. As the generation that grew up will have cellphones we understand that when unsatisfied, you can do something about it. Earning from the past unionizing is a common method for change, so is social media activism and protesting. Another way is to be independent from problematic cultures by starting your own thing whether it’s a business or a movement. Starting a business is not the easiest task but has tons of benefits. As a freelancer and soon to be business owner, the biggest motivator was being able to do my own thing, on my own terms and to a satisfactory standard. Many creatives have already begun to start their own businesses along with being freelancers because there’s more power and respect when you’re the one making the decisions.
The first article touches on how the creative industry is falling to Gen Z by continuing a culture of undervaluing creatives. The second story highlights the start of many small businesses created by people who saw a lack and a need within their creative industries. Together you can learn the pros and cons of working in the industry and starting your own business.
In this blog post published by WePresent, writer Micha Frazer-Carroll discusses how creativity is linked to mental health. I am a photographer and workin the ratove industry, I also am an advocate for mental health as a person with depression and from a community where mental health issues are common yet stigmatized. Many of the stories shared by Micha are relatable and highlight things I want to bring attention to in my community. To support this story is a survey conducted by wepresent with 300 creative professionals.
Being an artist
There is a history of art and mental illness being interlinked. A cliche of pop culture that emotional suffering is linked to greater creativity. Famously Davinci has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, people speculate that in his most intense emotional state towards the end of his life, he created 300 of his greatest pieces. Artists are inspired by the struggles in their personal lives but after a while that can also be draining and hinder them from being able to express themselves artistically. Many artists don’t argue that they feel artistry is 2nd nature, something they can’t control or choose but instead a gift that has chosen them. I would be easy to tell artist to choose another career path but its not that easy, and nor should people have to leave their passions to have a healthy life balance. Personally, I can be inspired by all aspects of my life, positive or negative but I prefer to model the artist of the past whose mental health became too bad. Here the art was not enough to keep them alive.
The current creative experience in the field
The current work industry relies on free, underpaid and overworked labor from young professionals. This looks like unreliable hours due to last minute requests or cancelations, getting pushed back on wages or not being paid at all and being overworked for jobs. Many creative industries often treat creative work like its not a job and rather a lifestyle choice and industry job scarcity/competition as reasons for the lack of organization and ethical practices. This can tow on a creative energy, self worth and time. Within this industry your work and effort can be directly linked to your portfolio and personal grit, which can lead to undelthy self perception. The industry like any other requires you be an advocate for yourself and work hard but within artistry there is a foundation of benign undervalued and not taken seriously that make the easiest jobs and task even harder to do. It would be nice to feel comfortable within a working environment and be treated and paid fairly. Especially since the industry relies mostly on freelaces or contracted work, many people have to jiggle different jobs unlike your typical industry. Artist are tired.
Things that need to improve
To put an end to the cliche cycle of emotionally distressed artists and great work, changes need to be made. Improvements looks like permanent jobs, better hours, structure, management training, unions and better working conditions. This would greatly improve the lives of creatives and would support them to create work without being emotionally torn.
“There is an inherent contradiction here: that creativity can serve as a therapeutic tool, but can worsen creatives’ mental states when pursued professionally. For the sake of people in creative industries—and for all of us who enjoy the fruits of their labor—we must collectively work towards a world where this trade-off is no longer a reality.”