Two girls in an interior, one seated reading a scroll, the other standing up looking into an insect cage, Library of Congress.

To the uncertain creative:

Being an artist/designer can put a lot of anxiety and strain on a person. It always has unique walls to overcome, all under some kind of umbrella of pressure/anxiety.

Obtaining goals, particularly creative goals, always is fraught with challenges. One doesn’t need to go very far to find an article explaining how school kills creativity, or an anecdote about the misinterpretations, misdirection, and failed understanding by the family/culture  of some creative mind or the other. These are common; these challenges place an emotional strain on anyone pursuing something creative. Once you are in a creative field, it doesn’t take much also to find even more stories about how competitive being in design is. There are people who are “better”, challenging the creative’s perception of their abilities, and pitting the creative against a wall of anxiety that is the actual act of creating.

Challenges from the creative competition and social misunderstanding plague an artist’s mind. We try to psychologically relieve ourselves as designers by simply saying we aren’t even that creative to begin with, but rather “problem-solvers”, as if the true value of aesthetics isn’t more fundamental to what we do than manufacturing and business logic. It’s important for us to talk about the fear, anxiety, and struggle of creating art/design in a world resistant to it; we face it everyday, and we need a healthy community to remind us not to fret, and show that we deserve to create as much as we must try and make money.

This logic is fairly simple: Everybody, no matter how conservative their lifestyle, imagines how the world could or should be. We need to imagine even to simply speak: To say the word “dog”, for example, means somewhere imagining all the doggy-like things associated with the word. Imagining is part of our world in all fields. In science and tech, there’s a huge drive to imagine the world of tomorrow, but the process itself involves assessing what is. It is primarily descriptive: what works in nature is most important in science. In art and design, what is most important is possibility: We take a risk with well-designed products, art pieces, and more. We try to let go of controlling many variables and let people respond and interact naturally. Designers and artists do a kind of waltz with culture, responding in step with trends, beliefs, and ideas.

It is important to know that we deserve to create by virtue of our imagination. We deserve to play with our imagination, draw beautiful worlds, and let them run rampant in our culture. Many people have fears of designing, but when we see the value of our work, that even our failures deserve to exist, then we can start calming down, and making a workflow of steady creativity instead of staying stuck only in our dreams. If we can imagine a possible world better than the one we currently stay in, whether it’s one with the tiniest innovation or the largest cultural shift, then we should always strive to reach for that world and make it a reality. Creativity is fundamental to bettering our lives, and whether one designs cars or paints murals, these attempts, whether failures or not, deserve to exist and be assessed.

No matter what, our imaginations are always deserving of being open for discussion – of debate, of approval or disapproval; regardless the outcome, they deserve to be.

Designers and artists do a kind of waltz with culture, responding in step with trends, beliefs, and ideas.

Creating can be an anxious-ridden process with the world or industry against you, and the pressure to make money makes people stifle more creative pursuits. It’s important to understand the creatives’ deserving of expression, and to continue to strive for a greater and more grand world. The payoff is always greater than standing still, regardless of the outcome. We deserve to explore the world we imagine to be, to talk and let our imagination grow in all walks of life. Whether we’re a scientist or a designer, understanding that our ideas deserve to be thrown out there for cultural dialogue, debate — that we deserve at least some platform to try and convince people for a better tomorrow, is important.

As scary as it is, all creativity deserves to be out there. It all has a place in cultural dialogue, and as long as we stay eager to learn and create, there’s always something to be gained. Students and young creatives should remember that it’s always about throwing 1,000 ideas before one really sticks across a culture, and that all 1,000 of those ideas deserve to exist.

Also published on Medium.