Photo by Lenny Montana
Eccentrics. Misfits. Outsiders. Starving artists and tortured geniuses. Once upon a time, to be a creative person was to feel marginalised, banished to the garrets and studios, cafes and bars of the bohemian quarter. To the rest of society, you were a sideshow. Sometimes entertaining, occasionally envied or scorned, mostly ignored.
It might have seemed Romantic from a distance, but up close it wasn’t so inspiring. Faced with the demands of the ‘real world’ you had a choice: follow your dream and suffer for your art, living on the breadline while you waited to be discovered by a well meaning agent or editor; or swallow your pride and take a day job, relegating your dream to the status of a hobby.
If you were one of the lucky few – the very few – you had a chance to escape the ghetto and become a star. To join the gods of stage and screen, the giants of science and literature, the headline acts in the rock’n’roll hall of fame. To live a life of creative fulfilment, glamour and luxury. To be one of the people the rest of us read about on our way to work or paid to see at weekends.
But times are changing. For reasons we’ve already discussed, creativity is now an economic hot property. And that means the rules that govern the ‘real world’ are a lot more susceptible to being rewritten by people like you. If you are a creative entrepreneur in the 21st century, then your talent opens up the possibility of spectacular creative and commercial success.
Now, we’re not saying everyone can achieve fame and riches on the level of Elvis or The Beatles. The jury’s still out on whether that’s such a good idea anyway. But in contrast to the bad old days of starving in a garret or selling your soul to The Man, you now have the chance to taste the kind of creative, financial and social freedom that was once reserved for rock stars.
So how come we think rock stars are so cool? And what makes us think we could be like them? That’s what we’ll be looking at in a new series of articles – starting tomorrow…
About the Author: Mark McGuinness is a poet and creative coach.