I was riding along in the car today with a friend of mine who is? an aerospace engineer– probably the coolest kind of engineer.? What is better than making things fly, or more importantly not fall?? We started a conversation about creativity and its role in our jobs.
Well I work in the creative department for the same aerospace company and I get to work with all types in that position: engineers, managers, radio shop techs, office admins, etc…? I recently read an article for new designers trying to break into the work place and it gave several good pointers that I have read a dozen times before, but then ended on a note I had never encountered before.? I interpreted it as, if all else fails at getting a “designer” gig, find another field/job even if it isn’t a designer position and use your creative skills for that instead.? I know countless art school friends who have done this very thing, though I don’t think anyone suggested it to them, especially in an art class.? Then again, most of us would have turned our nose up at the idea.
The funny thing is, while in art school I came to the realization that I was not really an artist at all, but regarded myself as more of a craftsman.? I loved creating beautiful objects, but didn’t have the depth of soul or quirky obsessiveness that seems to attach itself to successful artists.? I essentially had nothing of substance to say, and I still feel I have yet to find my voice, but I am in no hurry to do so for as soon as I find it I will be a slave to it and not free to explore all areas of thought and style as I am free to do so now.? Perhaps it is for this reason that I am quite capable of selling my talents to a big corporation for their agenda and their commercial voice.? For now, I am totally okay with that.? It turns out to be a symbiotic relationship, they use me to strengthen their communications and messages, and I use them to pay my bills as I continue to hone and develop my style and skill set.
So I find myself in a “creative” position while so many of my peers whom I esteemed much more capable artists than myself are in a variety of fields who at face value have nothing in common with our mutual background.? During my conversation with my engineer friend, he expressed to me that he is the more creative one within his group.? Where most of his associates compile data into a sloppy heap of papers and submit them for later deciphering, my friend takes pride in his ability to stylistically layout his information in an eye pleasing manner that can be quickly scanned, appraised, and cataloged for use.? He has seized an opportunity for a creative moment in a field that is typically totally devoid of it and as a result he has made his reports more useful and pleasant to work with.
I admitted to him, I often find myself depleted of all creative juices and I am staring at the rainclouds above my desk waiting for the lightning of inspiration to strike upon me yet again… for days sometimes.?? Thankfully I have enough jobs to juggle that I can keep myself busy with the execution of my previous inspirations while I let the juices percolate indefinitely in the background.? In those moments, I feel myself to be a fraud, though I know I have not deceived anyone, but am acting out a kind of stage fright or mental exhaustion.
I suppose that even full time fine artists encounter such emotions and pressures.? I imagine that is why they often seem transfixed upon the most minute of details in their approach to art, whether it be stuffed Siamese dolls in odd forms, glass bulldogs, or everyday objects blown up into the sizes so large that their true heritage is distorted.? It keeps them focused and they are able to build upon their already existing body of work without depending upon a raw and completely ubiquitous inspiration.? I cannot afford such a luxury, nor can my old classmates as we have to deal with an ever changing and non-self-directed agenda.