Creativity starts the moment you are born into the world. As a child, you start to create things with your hands. When I was young, I remember my parents taking my Sister and I to Ballet, Piano and Drawing lessons. That really started off my love for creativity and self expression. Over the years I would have Flute, Singing, Piano and Music Theory lessons, and they were truly some of the best times. During high school, those were the lessons that I genuinely loved. I remember being asked many times (as one of the few Asians in the country side) for help in Maths class, but Maths was one of my worse subjects a long with Chemistry. The only times I felt I really enjoyed and excelled in class, was through the subjects: Music, Art, History and English.
I know for myself and many creatives (though not all) are happy to make a living doing what we love regardless of how much we earn. Some creative people are less likely to climb a corporate ladder. Our ability to express creativity makes us feel meaning and passion for what we do. I just couldn’t imagine in a million years, working in a tall building at a desk, working 9-5 for a corporate company (touch wood!). The reason why Arts is often misunderstood, is because many people have the question mark over their head of “But, how does that make any money?” or many people don’t see the value of the creative arts, to which I feel a headache that makes me stop myself from interacting from people who have this mindset. It means that they lack the appreciation for creativity, imagination and self expression.
Arts is something that you need to be somewhat passionate about, have ongoing persistence, a creative mind and work hard for (like any other job/degree) if you are to find a good job. Most degrees will not necessarily give you a related job as soon as you graduate. Perhaps if you’re lucky, but otherwise some may need to do an internship, have contacts or build up their portfolio. I really believe that life is not about money, even though in reality we need it to eat, travel and pay rent. There’s an importance in not paying too much value to it though. When I walk in an art gallery, I feel this sense of peace and inspiration. When I previously studied at university, the amount of hard work and passion many musicians have is really admirable.
Many people think it’s the ‘easy’ option, but believe me, I know the amount of hard work it takes. In my experience with music, it’s the hours of practicing, preparation and exams (outside of school) that is not seen. A 5 minute piece of music, can take anything from 3 months, 6 months or even a year to prepare from ongoing practice. It won’t come as a surprise to many musicians who may have a similar story, as I did 21 exams in the space of 7 years out of school time, of flute, piano and music theory exams. The hours for performances, competitions, recordings, scholarships and auditions are also unseen. It is similar with art in the sense that one sees the art or photo in a moment, but the amount of time, preparation and energy is often overlooked.
Perhaps there is also a judgment towards arts, because in a sense it allows us to speak freely and express individually. Every person plays the piano differently – no one plays it the exact same style. Every artist draws a different way and every actor has their own way of acting. Whereas most subjects that are looked up at, involve a lot of facts. This is also a reflection of society in many ways, the way that we are taught facts in school, but very less of the time are we taught creativity. An example is how I felt literature was not as appreciated in my school. The students that were most praised or placed top students were the ones who had top marks in science and mathematics.
A few examples of Arts degrees are: History, Language, Music, Fine Arts, Literature, Philosophy, Anthropology, Art History, Drama, English, Film Studies, Creative Writing, Religious Studies and Sociology. All of these somewhere sometime needs someone to have the knowledge for that job. Perhaps not all of them may earn as much as a Doctor, Engineer or Scientist, but as someone who loves the creative arts for what it is, it really doesn’t matter. We’ll always need architects, teachers, writers, film directors, actors, singers, dancers, artists, musicians, museum curators, librarians and so on. Some of the most beautiful things in the world comes from creativity. Creatives make the world a far more colourful place.