“A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” – Henrik Ibsen
A couple of days ago I wrote the post “RNGesus!” about how creatives can benefit from coming together for a mutual cause. Regardless if it’s in a video game or something IRL. Since we all aren’t guaranteed success or a “drop” we should think about how to maximize the potential for as many as possible to benefit.
This raised some questions from you, the most common one which we’ll talk about today:
“That sounds great, but our pursuits are individualistic and competetive. How can we as writers/actors/etc benefit from that?”
The first part you’ve probably figured out is that if you’re part of a community then the pure exchange of ideas will benefit all of you. It’ll help you with your craft and it’ll also help with that feeling of loneliness that we sometimes get when we’re hammering on day after day without progress. It really helps lift the spirits and energizes us.
That’s all well and good, but at the end of the day if we’re all trying to break through there’s maybe room for one or two of us to succeed, right?
Yes, probably. Even if we start a “mastermind group”, we’re individuals who go into the world and pursue the same roles, contracts or whatever it is we’re “competing” over. Not everyone is going to make it big. However, it’ll probably increase our chances of getting further than we would have as individuals!
A good example of this is the impressionist movement. While studying under the academic artist Charles Gleyre 4 young painters met who shared a common interest in painting landscapes and contemporary life as opposed to the things they were being taught. They’d often go out into nature and paint or meet up at Café Guerbois in Paris. These strapping young lads were Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Bazille. Their discussions were by one of their heroes Manet. Other people who soon joined their ranks were Pissarro, Cézanne and Guillaumin.
Famous names aside this group went through some tough periods where their work was rejected and ridiculed. Even the term “impressionism” came from a derogatory review of Monet’s work that basically called it a sketch rather than finished art. They did get their works displayed in something called the “Salon des Refusés” (Salon of the Refused) which curiously ended up getting more attention.
They tried to get more of these but were denied. But did they give up? No, some of them actually founded an association for painters, sculptors and engraves to independently exhibit ther art. This came with the caveat that none of the members could display their work in the regular Salon.
This later lead to some in the group jumping ship in favor of submitting their work to the Salon. There were also some dispute about which people were deemed “worthy” of participating.
What happened with the original four? In the end Sisley died poor, Renoir enjoyed some success while Monet and Pissarro took home the whole enchilada.
They all had to do their work individually, no doubt about that, some made it and some didn’t. To be honest, could they have done this individually? Yes, but I have my doubts. It would have taken a lot of hard work and in the end we wouldn’t have had the same pieces of art. Was there conflict and casualties? For sure! Still, I have a hard time seeing that as many would have enjoyed the success they did if it hadn’t been for this cooperation.
It wasn’t just these four people, so many others were affected by their efforts and it opened up possibilities for the artists that followed.
I see some parallels to the whole Cheiron phenomena where a bunch of Swedish music producers, songwriters and artists came together under one roof to bring the world hit after hit.
Thanks to that we got Max Martin, Jörgen Elofsson, Herbie Crichlow, Andreas Carlsson, Douglas Carr and many, many more!
Once again, they’ve all had various degrees of success. However, had they not had that community to lean on during the hard times I doubt that they’d enjoyed the success they did.
“I remember that, although I was full of fervour, I didn’t have the slightest inkling, even at forty, of the deeper side to the movement we were pursuing by instinct.” – Camille Pissarro
“Doubtless there are things in nature which have not yet been seen. If an artist discovers them, he opens the way for his successors.” – Paul Cézanne