TED Conversations

Simon Peter Debbarma

Student of History, Desire Machine Collective

This conversation is closed.

Why is art (or artistically creative fields) often not taken seriously?

My question is self-explanatory.

I live in India where the shortest path to success in life is getting a degree and a good job. Its basically the traditional way. Very few actually pursue something artistic. And very few parents actually encourage it.

I found that most parents don't want their children to take risks and enter the creative fields. Most want their kids to be engineers and doctors. Here in India, most kids either end up wanting to be an engineer or a doctor and many parents want just that. Maybe its the financial stress but there's no explanation for it.

The creativeness in kids is killed although some lucky ones have it until the end of their lives. This is also shared by Ken Robinson''s talk. Creativity is art and its sad to see art dying in the younger generations.

As you can see this is very prevalent in my country and other Asian countries. You can also figure out why we can be kind of over-achievers if we try hard. John Maeda's father as said in this TED talk says that his father told a certain shop owner that he was "good in math" while his teacher had said that John was good in "math and art". His father had left out art. I've been in similar situations too and its kind of sad to see that your talent is not uphold-ed or recognized by the ones you hoped would appreciate it. Maybe I was not good enough, but it didn't mean that I couldn't improve. Many go through this and I think coming up with a solution should be on our agenda.

What can you do to change this? Are you willing to change your society?
How can we keep children interested and their love for art burning through their school life?
Is this something only my generation will have to face? Do you think this will change in later generations?Will we be supportive of our children in what they are good at, and at not what you want them to be?

Topics: art creativity
  • Jul 14 2013: As an artist, I'd like to butt in here.
    My dad was always against me wanting to be an artist. His reason: I wouldn't make any money!
    He started his comments when I was 12 yrs. old. When I turned 18, I finally told him, that everything built by humans was first thought up by someone who had an artistic mind and that included the bloody chair he was sitting in. Yes! I ran for cover after that remark but I proved many points.
    It's true, you have to have talent & be darn good at it to "make money", but to me (and many other artists) it's not about the money,it's about self expression.
    The cave drawings, of early humans, are beautiful examples. We try to interpret why they were drawn, and maybe are assumptions are right, but the again, maybe not. We weren't there to ask why that artist(s) drew them. We just enjoy & wonder.
    Art spawns creativity and can lead to so many wonderful things.
    Example: A surgeon does doodling on a pad of paper to ease stress between operations and unconsciously draws a new medical device. An engineer does the same thing, as do others in various fields including math.
    In a lot of schools, art has been dumped and that has been a huge mistake. Lack of funding they say!
    Only a very few students of art will become successful but the rest learned a valued lesson: How to create!
    And will take that lesson far beyond a simple class room into their chosen field.
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      Jul 14 2013: This pretty much nailed everything.

      Btw, nice convincing argument you made. If you didn't make it convincing, it sounds like you would have been disowned by your parents lol.

      "Lack of funding they say!"

      Lack of funding used for more useless textbooks hehe
      • Jul 14 2013: By the way! I am now 68 years old and that 18 year old kid still is making a living at art.
        Not disowned by my parents just my dad. My mom was my biggest supporter.
        Text books go out of date but art doesn't.
        Now I'll get off my soap box.
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          Jul 14 2013: Being an artist takes courage. You have to deviate from society a lot.

          Out of almost any other people in society, I think Artists are the most true to themselves and they aren't afraid to show it.

          "Text books go out of date but art doesn't."

          U artists and your quotes... lol
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      Jul 14 2013: My heart warmed when I read that you took a stand for what you wanted.

      And yes, I myself have so much to express and only art provides me a way to express myself in various ways.


      I don't understand when they say that art is no more in schools due to lack of funding. Like, when does schools need huge funds to lets the children sit and imagine and put it to paper. The most basic needed is paper,a set of pencils, maybe colors. And in most cases, it is all brought to school by the student itself.

      Can anyone explain me why they need huge funds? Unless they are in college pursuing something like sculpting or architecture, I don't see needs of huge "funds". A student art gallery can be created in schools anywhere. Even in the hallways.

      This is so sad to hear that many people have lost their passion for something.
      • Jul 14 2013: The sports in schools suck up most of the funds and folks have to have their sports don't they?
        Ya don't need color for art to have an impact! I do a lot of pencil work (not colored pencils) and when I show a piece of my black & white work, it causes folks to really stop and look at the art piece. No blast of color draws their eye, just the work its self draws them in.
        Art always has had it's ups & downs in the lime light and now is no exception, but it's still here & folks are still becoming artists, against all sorts of odds.
        The passion has never left, just taken a side step for now.
  • Jul 27 2013: Well i live in kerala,a state in india in the heart of this problem i must say.Here people who pursue art are stigmatised so much by the orthodox society that they tend to conceal their talents and creativity in art as if it was something to be ashamed of.Well,it definetly is nothing to be ashamed of , i love art and language buts lets face it ,no art or language has changed the way humans live ,no art has ever revolutionised life as a whole,so artists are not considered a prerequisite for a "developed" nation of the modern era.
    But when we live in such a competetive world let's reason, art is a person's inherent skill,it is the true expression of his inner being.He was not taught art but was rather born with it, now since he was gifted with this free of cost,he must put in some effort in life.Now the effort he puts in is the risk he faces by going up against a hostile world which looks down upon him.
    Nothing good comes free and the price one pays for becoming an artist is by risking his life.If so, why bother if no one ever patted an artist on the back and encouraged him.
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      Jul 28 2013: I'm glad that as an Indian you see my dilemma but u ask, why i should bother? Well because its worth bothering about. If you question in similar manner to each and everything I doubt u will find an answer for everything.

      Does it not make you happy when you see others happy? Being happy is not only something temporary, Each and every person has and needs the right to be happy his/her own life. Its how we build a community, its how we make things happen, its how we in return live happy.

      If someone is talented to do stuff and then does not get encouraged or appreciated then eventually becomes an unhappy person.he might get over it but it leaves a dent. Every person must use his talent to give back something to the world or just to satisfy himself. Thats how a person stays happy, doing what he likes even if its not accepted by everyone, even if he does it part-time. I'm guessing you are a christian and in the Bible, it tells us to use our talents.

      So now ask me again why I should bother about this?
      • Aug 5 2013: I think u got me a little wrong.The question was nothing but a rhetoric.My point was simple,all what i meant to say was that since art can never be meausured on the same scale as that of science in terms of improving our understanding of our world or improving human life as a whole,the artist has no moral right to claim a recognition or appreciation that is recieved by a scientist.Now since art is more or less a form of entertainment and the arist an ingenious creation of God, he has to fight his way up to the top.I said that this struggle is a part of his life and who he is and if we were to take it away he would never turn out to be as great as he could.....Remember the story of the man who helped a butterfly break free from its cocoon and the butterfly died in the end,same thing,names changed
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    Jul 17 2013: I always wanted to be an artist and never appreciated by anyone in my family. I turned out to be an engineer and then a bureaucrat. No one ever tried to learn about my passion or to discover my talent for art.
    Three years ago, i found myself extremely attracted towards painting and now i was the Boss of myself. I decided to carry out research in painting. For 3 years i spent time in learning painting by my self. Now i am an acclaimed artist with a patent in painting technique.
    I believe now that anyone can learn painting by him/herself, if passion is there. I was ridiculed by my family, friends for my crazy endeavor and its pretty normal in Pakistan. But i never gave up, i patiently listened to critics and build on their funny jokes about my childish work. And after 2 years my research started giving me results and now i have been ranked top 25 in a competition where 2000 art works contested.
    Now i am committed to teach my painting technique to those people who are divorced from art. And i dont discourage any art related talk or work. Further, i tell my 3 years research story in one hour and my students learn the whole technique just in one hour and produce quality results. This is a great thesis, you dont need to worry about learning art process. You can learn it by yourself if you are committed to learn.
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    Jul 16 2013: Because 'things' matter more than people, to be brutally honest.

    What can be bought and sold has overwhelming precedence over what can be felt and perceived. What a calamitous mistake that is already proving to be, because commodities needed artistic input to bring them into fruition in the first place. Not only that, the wherewithal to market them also needed creative input.

    A patriarchal, left-brained society is what we have now. The left brain can only deal with what is already known, or what can be evidenced. It foolishly thinks that the next century will be exactly the same as the last. Western education curricula and political manifestos are proof of that.

    If we are to look to a better future, the very last person I would ask to do that would be an economist. The second to last would be a politician.

    The more this society does damage to itself and to the environment, the more beholden it will become for creative visionaries and philosophers to think of ways to get us out. They are the people I would listen to first of all.
  • Aug 13 2013: I think it's a short-sighted definition of creativity: that which we call 'engineering' is surely as creative as that which we call 'artistic'; Leonardo De Vinci might have been amused by the distinction we make.

    That said, I suspect that we need to provide more and better access to tools and ideas and people who can talk about and explore them safely and flexibily. Maybe we need to take a hard look at the idea that art and creativity are internal things that happen where tools, ideas and resources interact with us, and us with them. Sometimes we manage to share our viewpoints, and sometimes they're similar. And sometimes they're not.

    And sometimes rewards come in ways that one needs or wants.
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    Jul 14 2013: In art it is believed that anything goes. I dont know if you are familiar with the Dada or Avant garde movement and other things that make it seem as if anything could pass as art.
    That sort of approach to art makes it very difficult for the creative arts to be taken seriously because it is thought that well-explained mediocrity can be called art, and anybody and everybody can be an artist.
    In the medical and engineering fields there is no room for that arrogance of definning things based on personal opinion.

    In the end, living here on earth is all about impacting humanity, and not about an individual pleasing himself or herself. Even successful artists are ones that connect with the audience; and certain fields are more relevant than others because they are all about humanity in an holistic way.
  • Jul 13 2013: This is a really important question. Like you I enjoyed Ken Robinson's talk and am disappointed that most of the world has chosen the pragmatic route, the standard safe route meaning getting a good safe job not one you actually enjoy. In many parts of the world like Asia or the middle east or Africa parents have made sure their children persue such successful jobs so that for example they say to their children: "you can study medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, engineering, accounting, business" and some other limited possibilities but nothing else. One very important reason is for the child's own security as well as the parents when they get old. Without a pension scheme old people must be looked after by the children. This means those ideas or passions that the children themselves have are ignored or trodden down whether this is an artistic pursuit or something else without an obvious monetary benefit. One example was my chinese flatmate who loved marine biology but was not allowed to study it by his parents who thought it wirthless in terms of earning potential. So, gradually the arets have been slowly eradicated by underfunding and a lack of appreciation excvept in cases where they were obviously successful such as in movies and the theatre, mostly musicals, or occasionally in jobs which require some sort of artistic aptitude, e.g. architecture. The worst aspect of this alteration in emphasis has been that artists are only considered as being successful if their art sells for a lot of monet. This means the attached monetary value is what really matters. This undermines the meaning and value of art and so humanity is made a little more impoverished.
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      Jul 13 2013: Its most probably the want of a secure life and easy old life what they are worried about.

      And I'm glad to read your points on the subject. Its the lack of appreciation alright. I guess the hard to understand art is actually repelling.

      Do you think that art should become simpler?
      Is it only this current older generation that will do this kinda behavior on their children, or do you think future parents will do it too?
      Will the choice of life of an individual human ever come fully into the hands of oneself?
  • Aug 6 2013: Creative people are only taken seriously once they are successful... famous or rich or both. At school, creativity is only given credit if it adds to academic skill. Teachers are all academically minded, taught to control a class rather than inspire creativity. Ken Robinson tells it how it is and should be listened to.
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      Aug 13 2013: Ken Robinson is a charismatic speaker and he makes many valid points but he offers very little advice that is practical in his talk.

      It is the prevalent assessment systems that ruin education. They traditionally are unable to assess the arts and so the arts are sidelined because they are too inconvenient for the bureaucrats to get a handle on in their own speak.

      When it comes to the attitude that fame or riches denote success, then nobody is successful until they are rich or famous. What you are really talking about is the commercial side of 'creativity', in which case, it's not about creativity at all; it's about marketing of the (artistic) product.

      Schools and teachers are forced to work as people managers rather than teachers (in the true sense of the word) simply because of the way education systems operate.

      A lot of what Obi Wan KenRobinson touches on can be fostered by parents and students themselves. Because current education systems need to be able to measure "added value" creativity will never be seen as a substantial or robust part of mainstream education.
  • Aug 5 2013: Creativity is not art. Some art is creative and some art is not very good. You can creativity in almost everything, even engineering, science, math, etc. I agree schools today do not support creativity in anything - just conformity.

    On the other side of the coin, put yourself in the parents - all they want is to have their children safe and secure. That means making money. I had several friends that supported their children while they tried their dreams - golf pro, an artist, opera company director, and a tv writer. The parents were scientists and engineers. So some parents try even though they are worried sick - 8>))
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    Aug 2 2013: I can site two reasons. The first is that art is a right brain function and we now live in a predominantly left-brained culture.
    The second is that art is subjective; it is in the eyes of the beholder. What some people call art these days has value only to the one who sees value in it. There is the typical joke where two children are in an art museum and one says to the other, "let's get out of here before they blame it on us".

    The following is a link to the right-left brain phenomenon;
  • Aug 1 2013: I once was a young man who aspired to be a writer. In the conceited manner of great American writers like Hemingway, I insisted, as well I should have, that I had excellent tone and vision for my pieces. This notion was burned into my mind when, low and behold, literary professors all the way down to colleagues in other fields of study found my writing provocative and thoroughly entertaining.

    I decided that I damn well may be onto something, so I considered what might be the path to becoming a "professional writer".

    Then I had a shocking realization. That position doesn't really exist within the corporate structure. Sure, you have your Stephen King's etc, but that isn't something you can send in an application for. It happens after years of hard work and being quite talented- then, finally the most difficult portion of this path is sought... You have to get your big break. In this case it is find a publisher who wants to print this art to make a profit for everyone involved.

    This is easier said than done, and while I realize it happens, I also realize that every 17 year old with a guitar thinks he is going to be the next Bruno Mars. And those dreams are great- But I have seen too many people lay in wait as "starving artists" only to turn 30 and still be living in their mothers basements.

    Art is a hobby unless one can make it into a career- and until then, it is wise to get a job to support your creativity (and,. you know, feed yourself). (P.S. I still write all the time and have had several pieces published outside of my 9-5 gig.)
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    Jul 31 2013: It seems to me we are regressing back to the dark ages. Oh yeah, we have the fancy gadgets and the pretty toys, but we lost something too.

    Take a look back. The Renaissance. The Age of Enlightenment. The Transcendentalist Movement.

    And now?

    Poetry is 95% free verse, with traditional form and others disregarded- a complete and depressing shame.
    Art is considered a hobby, particularly for the rich, and few consider it a life calling.
    Pottery and painting classes are paired with getting drunk with the hope of getting laid.
    Attending a university for a creative field is quickly becoming a negative stigma.

    Why? Andrew Wiggin is correcto. "MONEY MONEY MONEY!!!"

    You'd think the age of kings (now big business), greedy gold fingers, and mindless spending would be behind us by now... but it appears to only be getting worse.

    The horrible thing about it is... without money, there isn't a comfortable way to live. Sure, you can run off in the forest and live off the land... but first you need to buy the land. You need the materials for a house, the tools to build it, and so forth.

    And yet, deep down, we all know it's bullshit. We all know where true happiness lies right? We know it is the creative exploration, the delight of other beings, the curious nature of discovery and creation. The togetherness of us. So why do we continue to live for the accumulation of fake worth? Why do we fool ourselves into thinking their success will be the success of our souls?

    Wake up, wake up, wake up!

    It's just a dream.
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      Aug 13 2013: the world has never been an easy place to live. thankfully.

      that is not to say that we should not aim for something higher. neither does it mean we should resign ourselves to a life of drudgery and fakery in order to make ends meet.

      you can live both the creative dream and the reality. making money out of following a creative or pleasurable pursuit is not the measure of success at all. in my experience, the two are often mutually exclusive.

      it's unlikely that anyone could run off to the forest and live free of stress - it would quickly regress to a situation of simple survival which is not as attractive as the concept may appear.

      to answer you final question - we all need shelter, food and water. once we have those in abundance, only then will artistic renaissance follow..
  • Jul 22 2013: Dear Simon, how deeply I appreciate your Question! I am an American but do most of my online creative self-expression in India, at Speaking Tree, the Spiritual Site at The Times of India. And you bring up a cultural question that has baffled me about my fellow seekers and writers for quite some time. So, please expect no answer here, actually, just a sharing of my experience with art flowing out of IT engineers who take the time to write for Speaking Tree. And I mean this to include everyone from mothers to PhD researchers, cardiologists, those expert in their fields, young students still questioning what they want to do with their lives, and everyone with whom I have had the privilege to interact. Please allow me to simply share my experiences. Perhaps you can provide an answer. Sometime a seeker will write a blog post that inspires readers to begin either writing their own poetry right there on the spot or opening up their favorite poet and sharing, translating into English for me their favorite poems, from Tagore to Rumi, from Sant Darshan Singh to Iqbal...and then more jump in with their poetic musings and in no time a spontaneousSpiritual Mushaira (is that right?) erupts, delights, inspires,one friend just began finger painting later in life and her paintings are Beyond Extraordinary! She says it's as if someone picks up her finger and just begins painting with it. And here's my question: when I look up their profiles, most of them ACTUALLY ARE DOCTORS AND/OR ENGINEERS! It always baffles me, such talent and enthusiasm...I expect perhaps Art Professor, Poetry Instructor, but NO! Just as you said, pretty much medical or IT professions. At the crossroads of so many extraordinary civilizations, India is a mecca of artistic wealth. Your question only leaves me with more but the conversation is certainly worth pursuing! Thank you.
  • Jul 20 2013: Art isn't taken seriously by the majority of people because:

    1. Everyone can participate, and each person has to some extent,
    2. Practical applications of Art are understood as being highly limited in that the function of Art in society is generally regarded as often extraneous adornment,
    3. The act of "Art-making" (whether visual, written, or musical) is (often regarded as) "too enjoyable" (to be of practical worth in a material world),
    4. General literacy amongst the population is extremely low (visual illiteracy is rampant in a visually rich world - for example) and as a result, little is understood about how to evaluate quality (beyond the subjectivity of basc "like" and "dislike")
    5. The contributions of Art to society are not regarded in ways similar to either science or religion (our two other "pillars of human wisdom"); where both fields are accepted as authorities the general public relies upon to form their beliefs (people do not turn to the Art world to determine what is or isn't Art, or how to evaluate and understand Art beyond the subjective).
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    Jul 19 2013: We have allowed an economic system to control our lives instead our lives controlling our economic system. By this the STEM fields ( science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) are only more likely to guarantee a decent income, whereas all other fields are more likely not to. It's that simple ...
  • Jul 19 2013: I agree with the notion that we are losing appreciation for the arts, but there's an implied limitation of creativity in your post with which I disagree. It seems that people naturally link "creativity" to art, specifically fine arts, theater, etc., anything labeled as an art. However, I believe that engineers, doctors, etc., must be creative in order to be successful. Creativity isn't just expression; it's also problem-solving, specifically in being able to solve problems in new, efficient, and beneficial ways.

    An unfortunate by-product of linking creativity *only* to art gets people thinking that they aren't creative. I think this idea that "I'm not creative because I don't paint/act/sing/etc" creates a mental disconnect to art, wherein because people don't think they are creative, they don't think they can understand art or they feel separated from it and therefore don't seek out how to relate to it.

    So, I think in order to change society, two things need to happen:
    1) We need to change our perspective on what defines creativity. I think it would help to teach people how to recognize their own creative capabilities, whether they be with a paintbrush or a calculator.
    2) We need to support art appreciation in schools in order to promote creative thinking patterns and encourage original thought.

    Both of those changes can be implemented through education. And if anyone has ideas on how to have a educational revolution, please let me know because I definitely want to fix our educational system.

    On a side note, the belief that a college degree in a "non-artistic" major (like math or science) leads to a promising career is now null. Because the economy is in shambles, jobs are hard to find, and no one wants to hire recent graduates. I think it's going to take some creative thinkers to fix this economy, though!
    • Jul 19 2013: I agree 100% Karen, that creativity should never only be connected to the arts! Any and all professions can be executed creatively, there are so many levels of creativity that people are naturally equipped with in order to do what they do best! Stimulating creativity on a wide scale, incorporating all forms, is essential.

      I love this quote by Deepak Chopra:
      "Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box."
  • Jul 19 2013: I believe that the current denigration of the "arts" is a symptom of our (sick) materialistic society. In our present preoccupation with surviving materialistically, our arts and "psyche's"/souls are suffering. It's a matter of society's current priorities.
    • Jul 23 2013: Thank you - I was trying to formulate something along these lines. We are innundated by the arts of big music & movie variety. But this is primarily what we are sold. We have no creative input. We are convinced that what we could create is a low-quality & therefore unimportant. We are unpracticed & wpould probably be embarassed to be compared to the best-of-the-best we see on tv, who get multiple 'takes,' and photoshopped.
      And even in art, I see too much focus on "correctness" - "color inside the lines," "dance to the beat."
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    Jul 16 2013: In response to your question, I do agree that it resulted from our flawed education system where academic ability is valued more than any other talents that children might have. It is just simply because if you have good academic results, you can get a good degree and a good job and a promisingly stable life afterwards. And this is what people have been told generations after generations and that is why parents now insist on kids to choose a good career for themselves because it guarantees a better future.

    However, the problem here is that in Asia the vast majority of the population are not intellectual enough to truly understand the value of art. One cannot fall in love with ballet if he has never ever witnessed it. Some are even afraid to be artist because there is a myth that an artist never earns a penny but after he dies, all of his artwork becomes precious. Personally I think the way to change this is to familiarise the public with true art, arts that people and relate themselves to. We should organise free public concerts and shows where many people of the lower status can attend. Just like marketing, we have to give them free trial before we ask them to buy the products. Additionally, give them stories and examples of great artists that emerge from a normal social class family. Give them faith and they will follow.
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    Jul 16 2013: In America it seems to be the norm that if there are budget cuts to be made in a school system it is the arts that are quickest to go, and certain arts more than others, for example dancing will be quicker to go than music, as Ken Robinson pointed out. On a collegiate level, the humanities are continually devalued and I think this is largely do to the difficulty of quantifying the benefits of reciting a sonnet or performing an aria. It is readily apparent to me what the benefits of Greek mythology are, but how do you explain the way these myths formed the basis for our modern religions or provided some of the archetypes, which have become universal and subconscious?

    What can you do to change it? Support the arts through participation and appreciation. Read to your children and involve them in the arts at an early age in other ways.

    How can you keep their love for art burning? Help them to realize that the arts are a way to empower themselves and express themselves. Children, teenagers, and young adults are always on a constant search to find and define themselves. Make it apparent to them that there are more profound ways to do so other than declaring their support of a particular baseball or cricket team.

    Is it something only your generation will have to face? I think society moves in cycles. So it will be something every generation will face as they have faced in one form or another. Think back to the traditional expectations of women in most countries, when it was assumed they would learn domestic skills, and no career, creative or otherwise, was even a possibility.

    Will we be supportive of our children? That one comes down to compromise. Where it is possible, I would reject the assumption that they can only follow this career path or that career path. Maybe not always, but I'm sure there are lots of 'twin track' ways to pursue both, majoring in a creative field and minoring in a more traditional and job-oriented, or vice versa.
  • Jul 16 2013: Being a mother of a daughter who's artistic ability out weighs her academically due to a learning disablity. I encourage her to pursue what she's good in, and loves. The joy in doing what you love is priceless...
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      Jul 16 2013: I always wish for more people like you.
      I wish everyone had this mentality.

      Just so you know,
      I was just talking to this lovely girl that wants to be a singer. As I'm a music producer, I offered her to work with me on my next album but she said that she can't do it because her parents don't want her to be a singer as its not "as profitable". They just want her to study.
      Anyway, I agreed with whatever but I also told her to follow her dreams because its worth it. Hope she realizes it before its too late.
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        Jul 16 2013: Can you not accommodate her by letting her work on the album even while continuing her studies? Must it be all or nothing? Did you feel that you could work only with someone who would give up her studies for the project?

        I have taught so many academically highly capable young people who are also excellent musicians or in drama. I am delighted that the drama director at my son's high school recognizes that young people may have both academic and artistic interests and therefore offers upfront that he can find parts for students who also carry very heavy academic schedules.

        Julia Cameron in the Artist's Way makes the case that it is a myth that artists do better work if they shun every other expenditure of energy in their lives. She makes the case for keeping various projects going, artistic and not.
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          Jul 17 2013: Truly talented people are seldom mono-skilled. It's because talent is all about gift of expression so a single field of creativity is just not enough. Since it is customary to choose one field to excel professionally (no reason though why it should be that way), we don't get to know about other skills or creative expressions.
          Take any successful or renowned personality, chances are you will find s/he is deft at doing certain other things - so good that s/he could be famous doing that.
          So yes, you are absolutely right.
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          Jul 17 2013: Well, I can see the discussion has moved to different spectrums now.

          Anyway, yes, most people balance between art and something else that they are passionate about. And anyone can do this. Its just there are so many that don't realize their capacity nor do they have the chance to try it due to negligence or discouragement.

          Yes, Julia Cameron is a good example, I agree.
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        Jul 17 2013: I think we have gotten to this place in the discussion partly to try to clarify whether a good strategy is to encourage young people to pursue their interests, including arts and those involving more academic study, rather than seeing this as an either/or proposition.
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    Jul 16 2013: It benefited humanity but just not like the other topics.
  • Jul 14 2013: It's the elitification of art. At one time, "the arts" were viewed as crafts, which could be learned and taught. People would study them. A few might get rich, most simply made a living. However, this ended when "the arts" became mythologized and the exclusive social property of a self-apointted, out-of-touch elitist coiterie. Once "the arts" were turned from a craft, like any other, into some kind of mumbo-jumbo "self expression" that required "talent" and "gift" and could only be done by the Chosen Few, then "the arts" lost their value among the non-chosen many.

    As I have learned from having spent many years around full-time artists:
    If anybody likes it, it's too commercial, so it can't really be art.
    If anybody understands it, it's merely illustration, so it can't really be art.

    To make matters worse, the most elitist of the elitists even go so far as to make absurd, ivory-tower claims to the effect that "the arts" has exclusive ownership of creativity, and only those who pursue or study "the arts" understand "how to create". Creativity is innate to human beings, and the type of "creativity" that is taught by the modern establishment of the "the arts" is not the only type of worthwhile creativity, but those truths won't stop the elitists from spewing their propaganda.
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      Jul 14 2013: Art inspires and intrigues, not the other way around.

      Every artwork tells a story.
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      Jul 15 2013: You raise an excellent point, Bryan, that the arts do not own creativity. Many fields involve creative work and many creative people are drawn to those fields.
  • Aug 13 2013: Like a lot of the other comments state, we live in a time where money really drives the world, and unless you are very well connected in the 'artworld- whatever field that maybe in, it is extremely hard to survive. However it is true that the importance of us using our creative side of our brain is a lifesaver and should not be taken lightly, even more so in a heavily money driven world where stress levels are skyrocketing. But using our creative side of our brain does not necessarily mean becoming an 'artist', but understanding how to apply creativity to any subject/profession. Think of all the scientific breakthroughs and the people who envisioned these; this is generally done by thinking out of the box, applying creative thought to what we know and are taught. So the trick is to be proud of whatever you do and apply creativity to this, it should be more encouraged from a young age and parents/teachers should understand just how important utilising creativity is, whether applying creative thought to other subjects or allowing self expression for confidence biulding.
  • Aug 13 2013: "Find what you love, and let it kill you"
    -Charles Bukowski

    If we want children to be gutsy and follow creative dreams, we must MODEL for them by Living it........Preach it by Living It. There is NO other way.
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    Aug 13 2013: Art that makes money is generally not really art but a commodity. Something that only has a monetary value is not art, it is a product.

    Admittedly, the lines are blurred but, generally, choosing art as a living is not going to make you financially rich.

    Personally, I hope to leave an artistic legacy when I'm dead and gone. Regardless of whether it reaches a huge audience or not, I have found myself far more enthusiastic about song-writing than building a career. It's a way of expressing myself that turns me on. Besides, you can't take material wealth with you anyway.

    I think that many people do not even recognise their own creative urges. They often have not developed it because they were told that 'getting a good job' is more important. Depending on what you want out of life, this sort of advice can be excellent or terrible.

    Also, creativity can be found everywhere and being an "artist" does not necessarily make you more creative than any other kind of work.

    If everyone were creative in the way you have described it, society as we know it would collapse almost overnight.

    By writing and performing my songs, I am changing my society. It does not have to be on a global scale for it to be useful. It provides me with fulfillment and that's all that matters. Others will like, love, hate or be indifferent about it. And that is just fine. :)
  • Aug 13 2013: People decide what to learn based on necessity to survive in this world. To survive in this harsh world where money comes first to everything, people tend to put more priority the skills make money. Studying math increase the possibility of getting a high paid job than spending time on arts. Eventually, Art might be something good, but art itself is not necessary to survive.
  • Aug 11 2013: Creative art for the most part, is perceived to cater to entertainment without necessarily improving the quality of life of the individual or society at large. Fields like medicine, sciences, engineering, finance, and law directly impact the society and standard of living ergo they are taken more seriously. It is for this reason; we’d respect a neurosurgeon more than we would a comedian regardless of how hilarious he is.
    This takes nothing from the creative arts. I have a lot of respect for artists. I am a budding writer myself. As to why the creative arts are not taken as seriously as other fields, it boils down to utility.
  • Aug 9 2013: Well, if I am ever lucky enough to have kids I will encourage them to find things they are passionate about because such exploration is how you eventually find the one or two things you are meant to do.

    At the same time I think every child also has be taught common sense. That is, just wanting to be 'creative' is not enough in many instances to support a decent life. Strictly speaking, to be creative is to do something that you have never done before, but that is generally very different than being seen as 'creative enough' by other people that you can get a job.

    You pointed out that 'maybe this is due to financial pressures'--there is no 'maybe' about it, parents can see this reality much better than young people. When I was young you could afford to mess around and get a History or Anthropology degree just because you were interested in it, but now that's not true and parents know it.

    So, I think all children should be encouraged to be creative and follow their passions, but unless they are a prodigy in music or art, etc., they need to also get training that will allow them to create a stable future.

    I do, however, think the emphasis on following a strict set of steps to be a 'success' has to change. The fact is that we have allowed the world to change into a place where money and things are more important than being happy. That was the beauty of growing up in the 60s; no one had much but lots of people were reasonably happy--and isn't that the point of life?

    When I was young, lots of working adults had time to pursue things they were interested in. More professionals in that era valued spending time with their families more than killing themselves at work just to 'get ahead'. Only one income was necessary to successfully raise a family.

    Now, not even two incomes is enough in many instances to have a reasonable family life, in part because costs continue to skyrocket.

    We have to change our values so that happiness is more important than 'consuming'.
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    Aug 5 2013: IN MY VIEW: Your question sounds like a desperate cry of a person who is working in a theory but its still not totally proven. I guess when ur theory is proven 4 sure u will not have to worry about this question.
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    Aug 2 2013: I'm sorry to disagree with you my friend , but mountains of evidence says, your completely wrong. Art in many forms has molded, and directed civilization for thousands of years, when physics, and chemistry, and engineering was in it's infancy. Art affects every aspect of your life, every waking moment, in politics, in advertising, in religious indoctrination, in our perception of the world. As I said before, just because you don't see it happening, doesn't mean it's influence isn't there. As you grow older, and as you learn about human psychology, you will see that art is very powerful indeed. Hopefully we can get some input from some professional artists, and psychologists to explain it's importance, it's power, and it's effects on all of us, so you may change your view. Your view in my opinion is very narrow, and simplistic i think.
    You really should look into the psychology of art, and it's history. You'll find very quickly how wrong your view is. Thanks for the exchange good luck deciding.