“Creative people must be stopped”

Arts writer Michael Fallon
makes a surprising and challenging argument on the mnartists.org website: the societal push for creativity creates boredom, discontent and lots of bad art.

Just create, says the world. Go ahead and line up for American Idol or America’s Got Talent or whatever. You can do it! And while you’re at it, why not fill the web with your poetry, videos, art, musings, and every little snippet of creative detritus you can muster. And don’t let anyone say it’s wrong!

I find myself wanting to agree with some of his points. Even though I believe anyone who wants to express themselves with art should do so, I guess a distinction that’s made here is on motives. Are you doing it because you truly enjoy it or to financially benefit from it?

… we’ve become so inundated with creativity … that actual audiences for honest-to-goodness good art and real creativity and cultural production are driven into hiding.

Take a gander at the article and let me know what you think.

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7 thoughts on ““Creative people must be stopped”

  1. Mick Sylvesre

    Without art, our communities would become drab and lifeless. Art is a vibrant tool of expression and yet there are so many people willing to stifle our most primal need to communicate. Art is subjective to the trained senses. Unfortunately, the business world sucks the life out of art, making it something to exploit so it loses value and genuinely. Not many of people can afford to decorate their homes with good art, because quality is costly, so generic crap proliferates. I find it hard to believe that people even buy art anymore. I do see however, art stores closing their doors while people on the internet promote digitally melodramatic garbage and believing they are artists.

  2. ekim skram

    Yes, Yes, Yes,
    The respondents aside, the limited response to such a powerful and important point indicates the fear of so many of us in, or outside, the "art scene" to comment on such topics. The fear is clearly derived from the inadequacy of understanding “what art is“. This fear is evident even in the respondents vacillating on weather they agree or not with the article.
    There is a lot of creativity out there. Creativity is good. Creativity alone, though, does not independently designate something as art or someone as an artist. Although this position is considered blasphemous, I will further state that creativity and innovation are both misplaced as the paramount criteria for any work to assume the designation, art.
    The definition of art should never be considered set in stone, for reasons so profound, let it suffice to say we are in intellectual flux, growth happens. But if we shy away from defining what art is, we condemn ourselves to the endless task finding the needle in the haystack. Also it is not conducive to the production of art if one is unable to define what it is that one is trying to create. Why is there so much bad art out there? Because everything is art, there are no limiting criteria for work to be considered art.
    I do not apologize for my elitist position. Not everyone is an artist. Not everything is art. The consideration that any weekly serial on TV is art is a significantly poor application of the term art. I wonder if there can be bad art? Maybe it would be easier if we just considered it art if it wasn’t bad. Anyway, what is the definition of bad art?
    A Plumber of the Aesthetic,

  3. Grace Dobush

    Thanks for all the comments, everyone! To be honest, I’m surprised most people are agreeing with the writer’s sentiments—it seems antithetical to the whole purpose of art.

    But at the same time, as I’m reading this again, I find myself nodding and agreeing more. I roll my eyes especially at the concept of "creativity coaches." If you aren’t a person who just "gets it," why is that such a bad thing? Why not just accept that your strengths lie elsewhere?

  4. Sandra

    I totally agree with Fallon. The drive to just do something and call it creative and art is brain poop. True art draws on talent, skill, vision, and something to say that is universal in scope. Precious few of us are so endowed and driven. Few are capable.And apparently even fewer know the difference.


  5. Jeff

    I have to say I came here for an entirely different reason, but I like the discussion and want to blend my comments.

    I sort of agree with the writer’s argument that the more people are encouraged to create art, the more bad art there is. One only has to look at the dearth of programming on TV (in a 200+ channel cable TV universe) or expansions of the NFL, NBA and MLB (lousier players and teams for poorer competitions) to realize that there’s lots of bad stuff out there.

    On the other hand though, who is to say that art (or TV programs or sports teams) are bad? Someone is bound to like certain art, teams or TV shows…”Caveman” might be watched and liked by someone; the Kansas City Royals continue to have their fans; and I imagine someone somewhere has an opinion about someone’s art that is different from others’. More artists contributing to the pile of art increas the chances that something good can be found (beauty being in the eye of the beholder); it may just take longer to find it. Way back when, there were three cereals: corn flakes, raisin bran and oatmeal. Today, there are scores of different cereals. Are they better? Worse? More choice?

    Art for art’s sake is great; art to make money can be great, too. They don’t need to exist purely in a vacuum; art is necessary in commerce; commerce is necessary for art. Maybe we can’t say that “quality over quantity” applies here; maybe it does.

    That being said, here is the other reason I came here in the first place: this website (www.car-tatts.com), perhaps a place some might look last for art, is looking for artists and pay royalties for their work. Check out the site, see what might be relevant to you, and contact the company (and yes, I think it is pretty funny that Mr. Fallon starts his commentary with a rant about a bumper sticker). 

    Rest assured Mr. Fallon, truly great art will endure; the “YouTube snoozefests” and posers will not.

  6. wsmotel

    i have to agree on a certain level. we’re all told to be "creative", and we end up with crap art. we’re all told to be "leaders" and we end up with a decline in civic engagement. we’re told to follow our passion…but who among us would consider cleaning toilets or picking up roadkill to be their passion? and yet someone’s got to do it.

    moreover, we’re all told as children that we can do anything we put our minds too…but that’s a lie, isn’t it? i couldnt win the gold medal in figure skating if i devoted every waking minute to and every iota of brain power to reaching that goal.

    i want to be an artist, but i know i’m not good enough. that’s right, i recognize my own shortcomings. i don’t have the talent necessary to be an artist. so what do i do? i have a normal 9-5 where i earn good money performing a useful task that benefits society. and then i paint on the weekends for my own enjoyment. that’s reality, and it’s really not so bad!

  7. Jaclyn

    I have to wonder: Does ANYONE go into the arts to make money? I think that’s kind of like going into journalism to make money. Does that actually work or anyone??