Friday, February 26, 2010

Wait for the Harvest

In continuation of my previous post about starving artists, I want to discuss an old-fashioned concept. One which I think is seeing a resurgence in the information age: waiting for the harvest. In the agricultural age, no one expected to get paid at the end of the week. Farmers had to prepare the field, plant the seeds, pull the weeds, and otherwise care for the growing plants until the plants themselves were mature enough to put out a healthy crop. Only then could the crop be harvested, sorted, and sold. It was then that the farmer's hard work paid off.

The internet has given us so many ways to communicate and an enormous crowd with which to communicate. Social networking sites give the average internet user the potential power to utilize a compounding effect (or "viral" spread) of virtually any piece of information or idea. Digital tools have have placed photography and film squarely within reach of any artist so long as he has a good idea and a desire to pursue it. A low investment, with an unlimited amount of compounding potential is available to those who are patient enough to wait for the harvest.

What is stopping the average person from living his dreams is the desire for a "secure" paycheck. Most people have a short-term vision and cannot see past the next round of bills, if even that long. Partially this the media's fault for selling us on short-term solutions, but it is also our own fault for demanding those solutions in the first place. It is also in part the fault of higher education, whose purpose has become more specialized and vocational, than liberal and philosophical. That being said, it is our own dollars spent in ignorance that perpetuate this trend.

It is true that we need specialists and people with high technical abilities, but the demand for those people has been greatly exaggerated of late. The reality is that we know much of what there is to know about manufacturing, healthcare, and the politics of the legal system, so there is little growth in these industries. Until a change is made that either revolutionizes manufacturing, prevents the baby-boomers from dying, or vastly expands regulations that need untangling; the need for the classic high-paying positions of engineers, doctors, nurses, and lawyers will continue to decline while the number of potential candidates rises. If you're the best of the best, good for you! You've probably found your calling, but the rest of us may need to sow some seeds and wait for the harvest.

The hard work of your art, whether it's fine art or the art of persuasion, is giving without receiving. At least, not at first. As I said, one needs to plant seeds if there is to be a harvest. I am reminded of the parable of the sower who went into his field sowing seeds. Some fell where they were exposed and eaten by birds. Others fell where it was rocky and grew not the roots to withstand the sun. Still others fell among weeds and were choked out. Yet some did live and flourish, having fallen on good soil. Trial and error is a necessary part of creating art. The essence of what makes it compelling is the struggles and experience behind it.

Whatever is your purpose, whatever is your art, this process is not really hard if it is what you do. Only your passion will carry you through the trials necessary to produce the final product, and only a final product fired in the kiln of these trials is worthy of a bountiful harvest. Make no mistake, this is an unstoppable art.
FEATURED MEDIA: The Pursuit of Happyness - The compelling true story of Chris Gardner, who finds himself homeless with his young son as the result of a bad investment. Chris catches the dream of being a successful stockbroker, and pursues an non-paying internship despite his difficult situation. He demonstrates extreme perseverance, and goes on to get his harvest.

No comments:

Post a Comment