Beerubaraoyaji takes a break
Sorry I've been absent for a little while. I promised a guest blogger––someone involved in the creative process and here it is. I have been in touch with a few people who have been following my blog and reading my ebooks and have discovered that they too have a creative soul and an interesting story to tell. I provided a link to Andy, a game designer who has read all my ebooks. After a series of exchanges relating to some download issues with one of the ebooks it became obvious that Andy had his own interesting story. He has been most encouraging so I provided a link to his free download as a way of reciprocating his creative commentary. In the same way, Adam has helped me with some great feedback on both Memoirs of a Vending Machine and Kujira. It turns out that Adam also has an interesting story to tell about the creative process. Although he writes regularly for a column in his local newspaper, he does not at this stage aspire to becoming an author and offers his advice on the basis of a range of experiences related mainly to music/video. I found that his advice applies equally as well to the budding musician/artist as it does to the budding novelist or game designer. Adam has provided a link to his web page where you can find out more about him and the music that he plays. I am particularly fond of the works he has recorded on harp and find his quirky videos entertaining.
Guest blogger Adam B Harris
Guest blogger Adam B Harris is a multi-instrumentalist composer who runs a recording studio located in Goomalling in the wheatbelt of Western Australia. When not being a studio guy Adam has a growing involvement in filmmaking and is currently working on several projects in this area. Adam takes some time out here to talk about his ideas of what it is to be an artist and the creative cycle.
Greetings all. I was complimenting James (Beerubaraoyaji) the other day on his great series of eBooks when he told me about his blog and suggested that I do a guest spot. I'm not really a writer but I've worked over the years with a number of art forms and multimedia which should qualify me to make some informed observations at any rate. I am an artist and in saying that I mean that it is “artist” that I write down in the occupation spot on my income tax return. Its taken me a number of years to get there and I'm still coming to terms with what that means.
From birth Hollywood feeds us many myths about what an artist is, what an artist does and how they live. In reality, a professional artist follows a cyclic product development process of planning, production and promotion. If a person engaged in artistic endeavour is not doing this, then it is likely that they are not a professional artist. They are probably a professional something else that is doing a little art related activity on the side.
The Planning Cycle :-
First comes the idea or artistic vision. Three things here:
1. The artist needs to come up with the idea of presenting something people can relate to. If nobody can relate to the concepts presented, then the production cycles will be short lived (even if propped up by angels) and the artist will fail.
2. The idea also needs to be to some extent congruent with the artist's experience and knowledge otherwise it isn't going to fly in the real world.
3. The artist needs to imbue the idea with their original slant, otherwise its not really art, its just a copy, or something worse.
Production Cycle :-
The artist marshals what resources they have at their disposal in the way of land, labour, capital, enterprise and experience to build their product. Project management skills are important here and is likely that the products will improve over cycles as experience in this area is gained even if the original idea or artistic vision is weak. It is important to maintain flexibility during the production phase as the outcomes here may not precisely match the original artistic vision. Limitations are considered, serendipity and compromises are acted upon to produce the best possible outcome for that particular point in time.
Promotion Cycle :-
Art is definitely a case where “if you build it, they will come” doesn't apply. The successful artist is responsible for identifying the “type of person or group” (art client) that can relate best to the product and working out the most appropriate methods of reaching those art clients.
If we are talking about getting people to part with money here, which is quite often the case, most are looking for excuses not to buy rather than the other way around, so these barriers need to be considered and addressed. The product needs to be irresistible to the art client in that its satisfies a specific (or perceived) need. This factor is crucial and should influence the decision making process in all three cycles.
This is the simple view. In the real world, the professional artist will be running several cycles at a time and likely running them over a number of diverse areas in order to protect income. Costing, market research and evaluation processes should be built into each cycle to allow the professional to set priorities.
The career path of a true artist is an ongoing process. While the myth of the “one hit wonder” is an attractive one, it cannot sustain a career in itself nor generate sufficient income to satisfy the artist's needs permanently. The truth is that an artistic career is a marathon rather than a sprint.
Until next time
If you would like to know more about Adam or sample some of his work, you can check him out at www.AdamBHarris.net