'Wonderland: A Short Form Doc on Creative Commerce' Asks: Can Art Be a Business?
Making a sustainable and comfortable living from the art that we create -- that seems to be the goal many of us, the light at the end of the tunnel. But is that really possible -- to spend our days doing what we love and being creatively satisfied by it, all the while getting paid? The fine folks over at Eskimo, a multidisciplinary design and production studio, have crafted a documentary that seeks to expound on these questions through interviews with some of today's leading creative professionals. Check out the full documentary below:
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this documentary, at least for me, is the fact that the worlds of commerce and true personal expressive art rarely overlap. For that reason, it's essential to be able to differentiate between the two, because having a notion that corporate projects will sustain and fulfill you on a creative level might lead you into some frustrating circumstances.
And then there's the issue of creative control over client work - an issue that often creates friction in client relations. Here's a quick quote from the film that sums it all up:
But we need to understand that this work is not our own. It belongs to the brand. Ultimately, it has to elevate them first, and us second. And that's hard for artists to do. Artists want things to be for themselves, and they want to own it fully.
Most artists are keen on the idea of control and ownership over the content that they create, and the fact that the corporate interests are the first priority in the creative commerce industry can be problematic. However, the bright side of this equation is that it's entirely a blessing to be able to use the creative skills that you've been honing (whether in film school or elsewhere) in order to generate income. Sure, the client's vision might differ from your own, but it beats working in the service industry, hands down.
With that said, there is hope to be found in 'Wonderland' as well. One of the most constant ideas being perpetuated by these artists is the idea of the passion project - the idea that your day job can fund projects that are creatively sustaining and rejuvenating. Chances are that even if you're doing what you love for work, you're not creating the content that you would if you didn't have bills to pay. This is the reason that passion projects are so important. They have the potential to rekindle the creative flame that pushed you into the creative industry in the first place.
What do you guys think? Are you working in the industry of creative commerce? Can your work be creatively fulfilling even when you have to relinquish control? Do passion projects help sustain and revitalize creativity? Let us know in the comments!