Photo: Daniel Borman – (CC BY 2.0)

Good art is hard work.

It’s tough to develop a craft all the way to profitability, and even then, there’s no guarantee that anyone else will place value upon it. Our touch-response culture has created an incredible demand for content, but payment is only made when the content has been reviewed. This creates a bit of a catch-22 for artists: they require money to support themselves, but face an audience unwilling to pay for un-reviewed content. How many stars do they have? What’s their rating on Goodreads? Did a friend recommend them?

And how then does an artist get those recommendations, but by creating free content?

Only the quality cannot suffer. And the volume of that quality content cannot suffer. And the exposure certainly has to be there.

So artists tweet, snap, post, and build their way to ‘platform’ just to exist as a fountain of free until they reach a critical mass of subscribers, listeners, and followers to which they can market a premium product.

This is the “Artist’s Crucible”.

Photo: Rafael Edwards – (CC BY-NC 2.0)

This is necessary.

This is what separates the slacker from the serious. Good art is hard work because it’s forged and crafted, not vomited into existence. The process serves the art and the artist by forcing them to forge ahead. It’s a system with built-in quality control, and an environment where poor creativity simply cannot survive.

The artist is left to learn their world, and its corresponding crucible of process. They are forced to improve ever refining their methods and skill until they rise to recognition.

It’s really kind of vicious. Good, I think, but vicious.

Ultimately, I think it’s the artist that simply refuses to give up that succeeds. Perhaps art (and all of creativity) is simply a field ruled by the persistent. It’s a landscape where all you have to do to win is to never believe you’ve lost.

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