Some books are called classic because they are great works of art that have stood the test of time. Other books are classics because of tradition. It is important to remember that every classic was once a young up-and-comer. This means your creation from today may be a classic tomorrow.
Today’s up-and-coming new release can turn into tomorrow’s piece of classic art.
It is always interesting to see an artist at work. No matter what form the art takes; no matter whether writing, music creation, painting, dance, or singing songs. The creation of new art forms and new pieces of art is a time of nervousness and excitement for the artist. There is something beautiful and precious about artists who enjoy what they do and want their audiences to enjoy it as well. It is not easy to string together words, phrases, and sentences in a way that will resonate with readers. That is why not every poem becomes Langston Hughes’ Mother to Son. Not every bunch of notes put together becomes Charlie “Bird” Parker’s Birds of Paradise. Similarly, not every bit of choreography will become a classic like Alvin Ailey’s Blues Suite.
When all of those artists came forward and began creating things, they were not conventionally thought of as creators of classic pieces of art. None of those things that are now recognized as great pieces of art, were automatically thought of as things we would be enjoying and even studying years later. Langston Hughes came to the fore during the Harlem Renaissance. At that time, the written work of black writers was not seen as something that would or could be studied by students at large across the United States. Even Charlie Parker who is now thought of as one of the greatest musicians of all time was once seen as strange before his new form of jazz was recognized as genius. When Alvin Ailey first formed his dance company of African-American dancers in New York City, it was unheard of to go see a ballet made up of only African-American dancers.
Sometimes when an artist creates something new, she is told that her creation is too new, too different, or too unmarketable to be a success. The artists who have names that survive, the artists that are talked about for decades and even centuries beyond their death are the ones who continue to create even after being told they would never make it. The creation of art is truly not something for the faint of heart. It is not an area for those who cannot take harsh criticism in stride. When it comes to art, everyone is a critique and everyone thinks they know more about art and what a piece of art means than the artist who created it. If you are going to succeed as an artist, you must develop a thick skin, put forth your best efforts, and keep creating art. If you want to succeed and create things that are of value long after you have gone, you must believe in the power of your creations. After all, success is not given to the weak, but to those who persevere until the end.
Create today with the future in mind.
Way back when many of today’s classics were written, there was no way of imagining that the work would last beyond the lifetime of the creator. Today, we know better. We know if we want our creations to last, we must create great work at the start.
Years ago when I took my first computer programming class I learned the phrase, “Garbage In Garbage Out also known as GIGO.” The idea was that if you put bad stuff in your computer program you would get bad results. The instructor spent a great deal of time stressing that we had to be careful about the code we entered into our computer programs. It was important for us to check, re-check and then check again the work we were doing. In that class, we learned that the work we did would be viewed by others so what we did mattered. When it comes to the art you create it is important for you to remember the phrase “GIGO.” When you remember it, you will put in good work and give your best efforts because you will want to get good results and create good pieces of art. When you want to create art that will stand the test of time, start by creating a quality product. No amount of marketing hides a poor-quality product. You must do good work if you want good results.
If it is your desire to create art that will stand the test of time, you must begin with the end in mind. If you want to create something that will be an appreciated classic one day in the future, create something worth remembering. Whatever your method of artistic expression, give it your best efforts and create something that is worth being saved, remembered, and treasured. Think about who you are creating your art for, and who is your audience. Whoever that audience deserves your best efforts, your best art. Give that art, give those best efforts. If you begin your creative thinking that you want to create something great that will stand the test of time and work diligently toward that goal, you will reach it.
Keep in mind, none of this is advising you to change who you are as an artist. None of this is asking you to lower, change or modify your means of artistic expression. You create art in a way that is unique to you. Just as there is a lid for every pot, there is an audience for each type of artistic expression. Create your art and do the best you can at your creative efforts, your audience will appreciate it and you will be proud to have your name attached to it.
As you create your art, think about your purpose. Why are you creating what you create? Your art expresses something. Do you know what that is? When your audience sees your art, is your purpose and message identifiable? Does the audience see and understand your intended message or are they seeing something else? If the message they see is not the message you intend, how will you fix that? What will you do to make sure your art is understood as you would like it to be? What message are you trying to send? What do you want to bring attention to? While you are creating your art, keep your purpose in mind and be sure your creation does not stray from your purpose. Be true to yourself, true to your audience, and true to your art. Create art that is worthy of your audience’s attention and they will remember it, share it and treasure it.
When it comes to creating art, always give your best efforts. After all, there is a difference between creating garbage, a project for quick cash now and a piece of art destined to become a treasured classic. Which one your creation becomes is all up to you. You, your audience, and the future deserve no less than your absolute best efforts. So, the question for you on this sensational day is, what is the next thing you will create?