Think Different

By | Friday, March 11, 2022 Leave a Comment
Take a look at Jack Kirby's work in the 1970s. OMAC, 2001, New Gods, etc. By and large, that work fell flat in the marketplace. No one understood it. It didn't sell. The only people who did buy it were the people who were buying it exclusively because Kirby's name was on it and he MUST be up to something interesting. But that work ruffled a lot of people the wrong way within comicdom and he essentially had to drop out of comics for a while. (He took up a career in the animation industry for several years.) It's only now, decades later, that his work from that period looks inspired and visionary.

Visionary. A term that's almost exclusively used in retrospect.

Vincent van Gogh died destitute and lonely in 1890. The 1927 release of Fritz Lang's Metropolis was said to be filled with "foolishness, cliché, platitude, and muddlement" by no less than H.G. Wells. In 1969, no one called Jim Henson a visionary for coming up with Seasame Street. These people, and countless other creative geniuses, were never labeled as such at the time they were being brilliantly creative. It was only after people were able to absorb the work and reflect on it for a period of years before the depth of vision was recognized.

The frustration, then, of many creative people is having to reign in their ideas for the sake of earning of living. They work in mundane jobs doing dull and repetitive tasks (Albert Einstein famously worked in a patent office before he began publishing scientific papers) or try to be as creative as they commercially can, creating superhero comic books or storyboards for animated TV shows.

But there's some level of frustration that remains because their brains are considered abnormal. Something different from everybody else. Something "other." To have a way of thinking that is outside the norm inherently means that you have to mask at least some of that to connect with other people. People often talk a good game, saying they love creativity and original thinking. That sounds brilliant on paper. But it almost never works in practice.

"But we've always done it this way."

"You're not thinking of the additional implications..."

"This is how the boss wants things done."

"You're going to ruffle some feathers with that idea..."

The reality is that people want the status quo as much as possible. Creativity tends to only break through when it's vital. When everybody is distracted elsewhere. When there's no one around who could say 'no.'

And that's just a really sad state of affairs that society is like that. That to be able to create is considered odd or unusual. That coming up with ideas that are different from the vast majority of the population is abnormal. I don't know that there's a solution, other than for creative types to accept some level of outsider status for thinking "abnormally."
Newer Post Older Post Home