The Art of Being a Creative Futurist

The market is flooded with designers, photographers, writers, filmmakers and other creative individuals.  Technological advances put pro-quality equipment into the hands of budding amateurs at insanely affordable prices.  The varying degree of talent in the creative community that is now available to businesses is changing the way that business professionals and artists engage one another in terms of pricing, quality, professionalism and availability.  Art has essentially become a commodity, best defined by Merriam-Webster as “a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors (as brand name) other than price.”

As old world institutions of journalism, filmmaking, design and publishing go the way of the dinosaurs, there is a race to cash in on the new world methodologies that are currently being defined.  As artists, how do we thrive in this new business model?  Do we get scared and cling to how we have always done things?  Do we lower our prices and try to compete with the amateurs?  Or do we expand our vision and look at how we can contribute to the future of the creative new world?  As professional artists, it is our duty and responsibility to help shape the future and the best way to do that is by becoming creative futurists focused on innovation, passion for unique vision and integrating life with art and creativity.

Innovation Drives Us to New Ideas

Written about in almost everything we read today, innovation is driving the creation of new ideas, techniques and processes, while helping artists to continually redefine their artistic identity as well as their business practices.  In some communities, the hunt for innovation is the search for new ways to make money and is often a way to revive the successes of the past.  But being a creative futurist means that you look for new ways to do things, not just to make money, but to shape the future of what art means in our world.

When I share new ideas for projects that I am pursuing, the response is often the same:  “What a great idea…how are you going to make money doing that?”  My calculated answer:  “I’m not entirely sure.  All I know is that I have to do this.”  Innovation produces passion, which is simply a desire to do what you dream, regardless of the cost.

Without Passion, Art is Dead and Vision is Blind

Passion is the driving force in creating new paintings, writing new novels, filming documentaries and dreaming of what is to come in the future.  It gives us purpose, meaning, focus and a direction for our lives, not just professionally, but personally and relationally.  Passion drives us to seek out others that share our innovative vision.  It also drives us to be unique in our projects and pursuits.  Without embracing our uniqueness, we willingly enter into the world of commodities because we are no longer looking at what we bring to the table, but how we compare to others.  Constant comparison and critique is the kryptonite of passionate and productive artists.  As creative futurists, we realize that we set the tempo and pace for our lives driven by passion and a unique vision that impacts not only our own lives, but also the lives of others.

Successful Artistry Integrates Life with Creativity

How we integrate our art into life is where the money is at.  The way that we deliver new ideas through emerging technologies, even creating our own technologies, changes how business professionals will value the work of artists.  No longer will we wear the label “dime-a-dozen” because we, as creative futurists, are focused on redefining how creativity and art is delivered and integrated into everyday life.  By removing art from the commodities market, we retain innovation, passion and uniqueness.

All it takes to be a creative futurist is to believe in your uniqueness, to allow passion for your work to overcome your fear in whether you succeed or fail and to embrace a desire to be innovative, not just for your bank account and production of creative ideas, but for the quality of life and art that we are leaving for the artists of the next generation.