“The forest eats itself and lives forever”
Creativity can beget its own ecosystems. I’ve never really believed in the idea of the lone genius, making their art in isolation from the rest of the world. It’s a myth that denies creative influences and disappears the practical work that goes into making art possible. The wives, mothers, sisters, girlfriends and servants whose more mundane efforts have been key to the success of apparently great men. The female co-creators who disappear from the stories of how the men did the work. Meanwhile for female creators, there’s often a struggle around finding time for the work alongside other duties and obligations.
It’s important to ask what the art is eating.
In a healthy creative ecosystem, collaborations are acknowledged. The person who makes the meals is collaborating with the person who makes the art. At the same time, where inspiration flows between people, it needs to be owned and acknowledged. No one creates in isolation, and I think most of us are better when we are open to being influenced and inspired by other creators.
The myth of the lone genius can turn out a bit self involved and mastabatory – and not in a fun way.
Honour the people who make your creativity possible!
(Art by Dr Abbey, inspired by Tom Brown. Text – me)