Some artists continually seek to tear down boundaries, to find new powder, new territory, new colors, new worlds to explore.
They are the ones that hop the fence to get to places no one has ever been. They are insiders, who seek outsiders to join them.
Other artists, on the other hand, understand that they need to see the edges of the box if they are going to create work that lasts.
To them, no fence, no art.
They are insiders, who are comfortable working with insiders only.
When some say “give me the freedom to explore, don’t restrict me” others say “give me the rules so that I don’t overstep the boundaries.”
You can’t do both at the same time.
While some want to build a wall to keep insiders enclosed safely inside, others want to build a bridge to connect and embrace outsiders.
My guess is that you are already one kind of person or the other.
When people present you with an opportunity/problem, what’s your first reaction?
Some people immediately start looking for loopholes or weak boundaries. “You didn’t say we couldn’t do xxx”. For these people, the best and most obvious solution is to completely demolish the problem and play by different rules, perhaps new rules, or even better create their own rules.
Other people, take a hard look at the boundaries and create something that plays within, that follows the rules. They look for the dummies guide, the 101 Manual or rule book.
When faced with the opportunity to work with new people, some say:
Do they look like us, do they talk like us, do they dress like us, do they make us look good?
If yes, then off-course let’s make them part of us, “where have you been all along?”
If no, sorry we have no space, we are fully subscribed, try again next year.
In my experience, it is when we connect and learn to understand those who are not like us, that we grow, connect and do work that matters.
Build bridges, not walls.