In this day and age the concept of the artist is less and less about the mastery of one's craft, and more and more about the refinement of the self. It's about the artist's ability to move from one medium to another while keeping their persona intact. The labels that once used to limit the artist are more fluid, and the point of art becomes about the full expression of the creative mind's individuality than about speaking to a localized community of peers.
Access to the internet has radically changed this. Now everyone with an iPhone is a peer. It's all about getting those creative juices flowing and keeping them flowing, it's about connecting to a place deep within and pulling from that source of inspiration. Beyoncé
has reported that she paints portraits of women for therapeutic purposes, and when finishing she'll ask herself what the image represents in her life. (The image above is an alleged Beyoncé, though it's never been officially confirmed). The creative process has always been shrouded in mystery, but these artists are testament to the fact that moving between mediums keeps inspiration and engagement flowing freely. I mean, if it works for Queen Bey, who even are we to like question it?
1. Donald Glover is an artist that transcends all labels. He began his career as a writer on 30 Rock
, then an actor on Community
, and now we know him by his rap project known as Childish Gambino, which earned him two Grammy nods for Because The Internet
. He's currently working on his third album and executive-producing, writing and starring in a new FX comedy, Atlanta
. When asked to describe his creative process he said, "In my house, I have an empty room: I have my studio there, a whiteboard with the Atlanta scripts, a canvas for painting and all my albums and DJ equipment. I wake up every morning and I start grabbing things - spray-painting the walls, recording, writing. They're all connected for me. It's all about trying to get to the bottom of what being a human is." For Glover it seems that art is about self-expressive state of enlightenment. Glover has also said that Salvador Dali is an inspiration to him, being an artist that didn't limit himself to just one medium.
2. We know Devendra Banhart
for his avant-garde folk music that transcends not only languages, but the preconceived boundaries of genre. He is also an accomplished visual artist. Banhart attended San Francisco Art Institute, but dropped out to pursue his music career. He continues to draw and has had his work showcased in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels. His drawings have also been featured in various galleries and at the Art Basel Contemporary Art Fair in Miami.
3. Kim Gordon
is widely known as the totally badass bass player, and singer of Sonic Youth. She has also said, "I don't really even consider myself a musician." Over the years Gordon has written for Artforum and other magazines, and been involved in various projects in the visual arts, fashion and music production. Her new memoir, Girl in a Band
came out today. Kim has said that she feels her best by herself and making art, away from people and free to express herself.
4. You can tell that Tyler The Creator
of the Odd Future
crew is an overall creative human being based on the inventiveness of his music. The unique and eclectic style of the group and the visual art of the albums can also be accredited to Tyler, The Creator. At only 23 years old he seems incredibly in tune with the times and able to funnel that into his own creative process. It's as Nina Simone once said, and John Legend reiterated Sunday night in his Oscar acceptance speech, "It's an artist's duty to reflect the times in which we live."
5. The legendary David Bowie
is known for his intellectual and avant-garde music, and the persona created by his glam-rock style. On his creative process he has said, "I'd find that if I had some creative obstacle in the music that I was working on, I would often revert to drawing it out or painting it out. Somehow the act of trying to recreate the structure of the music in paint or in drawing would produce a breakthrough." If it works for an artist with as much staying power as Bowie, there must be something to it.
The public has always had a fascination with the artist, not just the finished piece of art, but of the process of getting there. According to these artists the best way to get what you want to be artistically is to take a different route. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your work is walk away from it, pick up something else, and let your subconscious work it's magic.