the 'artist' vs the 'creative' (they both win)
from Ashes & Embers by Haile Gerima (1982)
Before we begin this discussion, let us give the highest praise to the pursuit of beauty involved with art as one’s occupation. What an honor it is to dub yourself such an appreciator and to remain practically devout to these tangible manifestations of human emotion. To be always labored to love. To be always in your feelings and profit off of it— whether you like it or not.
Let’s also thank the medium that we either chose or it chose us. Performative, visual, literary, graphic, musical— you name them all. Whether secret or liberal, ancient or developing, no craft is exempt from the praise we have of it just existing.
Less poetically, what would this planet be without art? One might imagine a world with no prints on waiting room walls or a lack of museums. But imagine not having songs to listen to, clothes to choose from, or even signs to read. However wide or little you imagine it, something crucial is missing and it needs to be there.
Imagine having to rebuild that same world. Some would build things for the sake of erecting beautiful things. Others would build things to elevate function; for practicality and necessity. The two are still equal operators in it’s re-beautification, but while in tandem they are still separate.
Artists have the talent of finding the harmony and that is their only guidance. They are motivated by capturing just the perfect essence or expression of the idea, somewhere in between themselves and their audience. The artist almost always assumes an audience. Their formula goes as follows: they perform and then you react.
Think of a ventriloquist or a drag artist presenting their newest number in the same manner a sculptor would their latest gallery piece. A conversation is going on between you and the artist, but what you take away from it is entirely up to you.
A creative might not have that dialogue with anyone while they’re experiencing their work. If they do, it’s not an interpretive one at all, but rather very literal and intentional. What the creative executes is directly in response to external need and always serves an outward purpose.
A UX designer considers haptics and overall usability when crafting interfaces for their users. Not only is it convenient, but your immediate takeaway is satisfaction, if done right.
Getting caught up in titles or labels (not recommended) may not be of interest to the creative at all. The artist on the other hand might feel more need to describe themselves in relation to their medium— the same medium they use to describe themselves from within. The artist would for sure call themselves an artist before the creative could even utter the words.
The very same ways a creative and an artist might differ make them the same in some aspects. While skill sets and tools may vary, that same creative sensibility is so dire to the human experience because we are empty without it. Every asset of civilization began with some sort of creative notion to make that thing exist. And you, the artist and/or the creative are ultimately responsible for the continuation of that. You are needed.
Although I’ve set these two as separate terms so far, they can continue on as one. The higher forces may have created this world but who has made everything else that is on it? There is so much power in our very minds and hands. Praise be to you for knowing that you had to do something with it.