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Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Creativity is an act, or many acts, of rebellion. Here’s why:

Photograph Compliments of Jakayla Toney

Evolution As An Act Of Rebellion

Evolutionary Biologists debate life’s origins; no one knows how life came to exist. There is the thought among evolutionary theorists that nature innovates by using available resources and creating new ways for life to exploit its environment.

Creativity is an amalgam of evolutionary processes. The creation of original concepts derives from ideas already in existence. We seek to manifest innovative solutions for the challenges of our domain.

If modification and blunders and uncertainty unlock new doors in evolution’s possibilities, perhaps there is a chance to utilize them in our creativity. The artist’s creative spirit is an evolution and reflection of the individual’s personality.

The Rebellion Of Art

Recombining previous thoughts and ideas is a way to put as many parts on the table as possible. Recycling old ideas is a normal part of the process, but how will you make that thought different and unique? How will it stand out? This is an act of creative rebellion against the status quo.

Creatives As Rebels

Edgar Degas was a French Impressionist artist. Degas was a banker’s son, a bourgeois, whose artistic training was traditional. His education should have led him to become a painter in the classical tradition. Because of his genius and rebel spirit, his work is an influential benchmark of Impressionistic Painting.

Artemisia Gentileschi, a female Baroque painter, was an anomaly. Gentileschi was the first woman admitted into the Academy of the Arts of Drawing, or Accademia delle Arti del Disegno. She became a successful court painter for the Medici of Florence and Charles I of England. Her status as an artist was equal to her male counterparts. Artemisia’s ability to clear gender-based obstacles has made her an icon of modern feminists.

Victor Jara began his career in theater but later became a Chilean folk singer. Jara started songwriting as his country endured the social upheavals of the Sixties. He supported the presidency of Salvador Allende, who was deposed and supposedly killed by the Chilean right-wing. Jara was imprisoned, tortured, and murdered for his support of the left. An extreme example of creative rebellion, but passion for your cause can lead you to extremes.

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Six Challenges To Rebel Against For The rest Of Us

Complacency

Complacency is the most significant threat to any creative enterprise. As we progress in developing our skill sets, there comes an ever-growing satisfaction in our technical prowess. When we think this way, we stop asking questions; we start taking our abilities for granted. Or our circumstances may seem out of control. It is easy to fall into the mindset: It Is What It Is; Good Enough Is Good Enough.

There are potential threats of failure when falling into complacency. Staying sharp in our techniques and performance is critical. Learning new ways to enhance our abilities decreases the likelihood of falling into laxity and questionable contentment. We can always acquire more knowledge.

Practicing creativity is practicing rebellion against a complacent attitude.

Remaining Conservative

We’re not talking politics here. With any measure of success, there is a tendency to protect what is tried and true. The adage is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This statement gives credence to keeping things as they are.

There may come a time when you question whether or not changing the status quo is in your best interest. You have developed skills and techniques that seem to work consistently. Why not continue with the same game plans that have brought you this far? You remain attached to comfortable concepts, take less time exploring new ideas, and rely less on your inventiveness than in the past. Becoming more adverse to risking new abstractions becomes the downward trend.

Maintain that creative spark; this is an act of boldness. Refuse to remain comfortable and avoid the conservative approach.

Emotional Attachment

Our relationship to our work, our creations, is akin to having children. Likewise, our art may take on the dependence and loyalty we receive from our favorite pets. We often develop a great desire and love for the process. There is the completeness of our inner-self in pursuing the passion that drives us.

The stakes become very high when we are creative-active in our art. The fruits of our artistic productivity may result in financial gain, technical articulation, self-esteem, and confidence. When we achieve levels of success, our work may become more demanding because of raised expectations. The sources of those expectations are internal or external, or both.

When it is my creation, I may have too much cognitive bias regarding its production. Separating subjectivity and objectivity becomes difficult.

Impatience, Frustration, And Agitation

My biggest challenge is coping with impatience, frustration, and agitation.

I want my successes; now would be a convenient time for them to show up. There is always the option of jumping up and down like a five-year-old. I could yell and scream, but what good would it do? Those nasty obstacles can all go away.

The idea is to fight against the emotions and forces that are holding me back.

I’ve been working on concentrating my thoughts, using every free moment. I have been looking for more insight and seeking knowledge. It’s all about changing my mindset. How do I utilize every single moment I have?

The idea of the brilliant flash of insight, the proverbial ‘light bulb going off in your head,’ doesn’t exist. There is no single moment of creative inspiration. The process of the invention is instead a cumulative process of many ideas. These notions veer off in diverse directions, mostly cut off at dead ends.

Staying active and growing in the creative process helps to alleviate the pressures of success deferred.

Self-Aggrandizement

When the people you rely upon only give you positive criticism, how are you supposed to learn from that? Negative feedback is data. We crave praise for our efforts. Positive recognition for our efforts does harm. Seek negative criticism and become aware of the flaws in your work.

We all want to think we are the greatest thing since white bread. You have to remember there are always more extraordinary artists than yourself. The natural tendency is to believe our brilliance draws success and attention. Failure is inevitable; embrace it. Learn from your shortcomings.

I know a ton of great musicians with incredible talent. The most common personality trait amongst them is the outward practice of humility.

There are your prima-donnas out there, no doubt; I learned long ago to stay away from them. Accomplished creatives who are humble look to the strengths and interests of others and naturally support those on the path.

Those artists who drip conceit are toxic, no matter their abilities. I haven’t the time for it.

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What Are Your Unique Perspectives And Ways Of Thinking?

Perspective is power; to thy self be true. Along with this is being able to accept change. We recently experienced almost two years of varying levels of quarantine; how did you fare? How do you measure yourself pre-pandemic as opposed to now? As you spent time in isolation, were you able to be adaptable, embrace change, and continue learning?

I sincerely hope you came out more robust and more dynamic. Yes, the time we spent sequestered from society was, at the least, problematic. There was an opportunity to become introspective, questioning our motivations and priorities. How did your story change?

To keep the things you are most passionate about, you must remain fervent. It is a life-and-death struggle fighting for the people you love, likewise, your creativity.

My perspective On Creative Rebellion

Photograph Compliments of Zachary Keimig

Rebelling Against Your Work Environment

Most people experience varying degrees of job dissatisfaction. Lack of communication, under-appreciation, salary compensation, and disgruntled fellow employees are a few reasons folks dislike or even hate their jobs.

It is not unusual for employees to base their self-worth on what management and co-workers think of them. Frequently, a worker compensates personal integrity in the requirements of their profession.

Work can be considered a necessary evil. We must keep a roof over our heads, eat, and pay bills.

My solution to this challenge is to ignore the problems of my place of employment. Outside of my job, I have my goals and aspirations. My self-esteem is based on personal integrity and achievements. I have decided that any compromise I need to make to keep my job doesn’t make me who I am. I fight against the pressures of my work environment with a steady stream of creative output.

Creative Rebellion Builds My Confidence And Legitimizes Who I Am

Have you considered the concept of building strength upon strength? The best example is that of a bike wheel. The wheel isn’t resilient by itself; it needs the spokes to reinforce its integrity.

Take time to list your attributes and recognize what makes you who you are.

These are my accomplishments thus far:

My blog is growing in serious content.

Bryan At Mackncheeze, my YouTube channel, is slowly expanding content but expanding nonetheless.

A podcast channel that is on hold because of time challenges. I had to make some priority shifts post-pandemic.

I have completed one book, which is in production as an audiobook. Nowadays, it is best to release your eBook and audiobook simultaneously; there is more power and legitimacy delivering content in this fashion.

The second book is in production and I am drawing up the outlines for my third.

Of course, the Mackncheeze studio is in active collaboration, writing and recording with my good friends.

I am becoming a more accomplished musician.

Final Cut Pro has become my friend. There was, and still is, quite a learning curve in developing the skill of shooting and editing videos. I would love to have more time for it.

Oh yeah, and I have a career as a sommelier at a Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning restaurant, one of 97 worldwide.

Is There Such A Thing As Flawless?

The list isn’t perfect; nothing is. I must remember, all you can do is all you can do. The goal is to fit more in and become more efficient in utilizing my time.

Creative Rebellion Solidifies My relationships

Thank God for my friends. They are the counter balance to my inner darkness.

Most of my close relationships are with superbly brilliant and talented individuals. It’s amazing, brilliance and talent go pretty much hand-in hand. As time goes on, developing more of these relationships reinforces my prime objectives.

One of the great things about these friendships is the ability to collaborate. In most of my musical endeavors, I am at a loss without the input of my friends who think out of the box.

There is an adage, “Iron sharpens iron.” The opportunity of close relationships is the ability to support one another. Life isn’t a bowl of cherries; there will be seasons of pain and loss. There will be times of celebration and times of mourning. Being able to cry together and sustain one another is one of life’s great privileges.

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What I have To say About Today’s Creativity

I’m not going to hold back. There are a lot of really smart, stupid people in today’s music industry. Music production is filled with folks whose entire stock-in-trade is based on the use of samples, loops, and auto-correct. Life and humanness are being sucked out of production. It’s very hard to impress an audience now. They listen to a song and say, “Oh Yeah, that just came out of a computer!”

For the last 20-30 years, pop artists have been using the same formulas to manufacture hits. Take a look at Billboard’s weekly top 100. Why are so many of the chartbusters so beautiful and sexy? Is it that fat and ugly people have no talent.

No wonder consumers are becoming disinterested.

Herein lies the mistake: in my opinion, too many of today’s would-be producers rely on only one source of technology as opposed to embracing every vehicle available to them. Pop Music isn’t new or original any longer. Anybody can be a music producer with the investment of seeking information on the internet and a few hundred dollars of software. People can enter the fray with limited skill sets and an understanding of their chosen genre.

There Is Another Way

The music business would have us believe it is all about the money. The industry would have us think concerts, ticket sales, marketing, glamour, and the music press drive music.

It isn’t necessarily like that. The promoters and their minions do not understand the secrets of the human heart, at least from my perspective. I don’t think they comprehend the brilliance of the medium of music.

If money doesn’t drive music, what does?

Here’s the answer: ideas. Things that are heard and touched, and visualized are the real things that drive music. Innovating with those ideas is how we dissent against the machine.

The alternative benefit of today’s music is the scalability it offers. An artist doesn’t need mass appeal to succeed. Regional success has always been viable, but today, that region can be a microcosm found on the internet.

The benefit is in the democratization of technology, the ability to go around the gatekeepers and create our unique successes. Use creativity to foster your rebellion. Damn the gatekeepers and find your niche.

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