Follow up to ‘New Questions’

May 19, 2007

It may have seemed that in the New Questions post I condemned making a living from one’s art. Not really. There are creatives who manage to dance beautifully with the marketplace. I think, though, that they are the ones stubbornly operating from their own values instead of selling out to purely commercial ones.

Joseph Campbell says that a wasteland is where people are living inauthentic lives and the way to heal that is to live an authentic life. In the same way, artists can bring their values into the marketplace to heal it.  In countless (small) craft businesses I see products made with love as the prime motivation. These then find their way into the consumer stream to brighten the lives of people who buy them. These creations have stories, they are bound to the places and the lives of the people that made them. Tage Frid says that when you buy something from  a craftsperson you are buying a slice of an honest person’s working life.

I feel that products made with love and care enrich our lives. And of course, mass-made products, manufactured with the right sensibility can also fulfill this function. In Crofts’, ‘Authentic’, he cites new companies which bring solar energy, coffee, and T-shirts onto the market, but they contribute so much more than just the products. Each of these companies is fuelled by passion and caring so there is an invisible extra which influences the employees, owners and customers and ultimately the society in a powerful, positive way.

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