What happens when creators stop creating?

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2020

We probably don’t need to tell you that Rishi Sunak recently suggested that those working in the arts should “retrain and find other jobs”, or introduce you to Fatima the ballerina, or alert you to the Government’s new careers quiz. You’ve seen it, you’ve sighed it, you’ve felt your eyes roll back in a familiar hybrid of predictable disbelief. For both those in industry and those that support them, the consistent undermining of creative industries is boring – but what actually happens when creators are encouraged to stop creating?

The problem with being misunderstood is that to be understood, you’re required to enter, recite and teach something logical. Creativity, for the most part, isn’t logical; it’s the twists and turns into things unknown, it’s a critical thought, a rising emotion, it’s a moment of madness, a personal revelation, it’s embracing the complex, a random series of thoughts. Its beauty that sits in a secure place of being untranslated.

To affiliate yourself with creativity is to admit that you are, sometimes, illogical. Moments of both tense misfitting and liberated awakening lead us to not only accept our differences, but to embrace and present them for others to see, critique or adore as they see fit.

Creators need to create for psychological survival. This benefits not only themselves but the communities they belong to and the societies we collectively live in. So, when it comes to compartmentalising the arts into ‘other avenues’, the suggestion isn’t only offensive – it’s senseless. If taken seriously, today’s economical ‘solution’ will be tomorrow’s breakdown of our already overwhelmed mental health services. Can we take the heat?

We asked a group of creators what happens when they stop creating, the answers speak for themselves:

“Get very fed up.”
“I get really bored and unmotivated, and procrastinate a lot.”
“I suppress what intrinsically makes me who I am. I deny myself of my unique contribution to the world.”
“Life seems less colourful.”
“It dulls me.”
“It worsens my mental state and makes depression and anxiety worse, also I get very stressed.”
“I question EVERYTHING.”
“Suicidal thoughts creep in, my purpose is lost, dance and art give me self worth and pride.”
“Agitation and frustration become increasingly more prevalent through my emotions.”
“I lose myself.”

In these dystopian days, we stand frustrated. But in true historical fashion, we believe that this opposition and disillusionment will only enliven a new wave of powerful art. Go on, encourage someone you admire today.

Words by Joanna Kyte

References

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