As a kid I drew… on everything. I made word play, loved to invent jokes and was king of the pun. I also annoyed my family and frustrated teachers. I had a condition that the medical industry termed "creative."
Over the years it was plain to me that I had a choice to make. I could shoe-horn myself to fit into middle America and forever banish my creativity to the attic; secretly painting on the weekend, letting my odd-spirit soar, like some 'artsy' plaid rabbit uncle. Or, I could face the truth and become… Me. I chose to cultivate my Gift, I chose to become creative.
I began by studying others' creativity and putting in long hours of practicing my own craft, learning to harness it. Since then I've taught it at University, I've made works that hang in the MoMA and written books and articles on the subject and am paid to speak about it around the globe (call me!). I am roundly considered an expert on creativity.
Being creative is one thing— and not an easy thing on it's own.Tweet It!
Being creative is one thing— and not an easy thing on it's own. Making a living by these talents is another story completely. And the level of difficulty rises depending on what you call upon your talent to do for you; to buy your beer, to pay your rent, or to accommodate a $10,000 impulse buy.
Having vision— a way of seeing the world—is certainly a part of this career. But true originality involves more. It demands having interests. Your love of hot rods, magic and food become fuel for inspiration. Then it delves deeper and wider. Sharing your vision involves psychiatry, sociology and anthropology. It's about telling a story, telling the world's story— which is actually your own story. It requires having an opinion and putting it in your work. It calls for authenticity— being real to the painful point of vulnerability.
Making a viable living creatively is hard— it's supposed to be.Tweet It!
Making a viable living creatively is hard— it's supposed to be. It takes courage to present and stand by your ideas. It takes stamina to withstand the sometimes heartbreaking and always constant compromise. It takes wit to see all this as part of the game. And it takes asking for help from the brave souls who’ve been there before. Creativity, commerce, and crafting your career is a never ending maze of confusion and craziness. It helps to have mentors to light the way.
Over the years I’ve had an amazing audience of disillusioned artists and designers who write me and ask excellent heart-felt questions. It wasn’t long before I realized the answers I was sending to these students had value for a larger group. This is why I started my weekly video series Burning Questions which addresses all the stuff you need to know about leading a creative life. Think of me as Banksy meets Tony Robbins. A creative motivator who wants to see you access your full potential. Trust me. I'm an expert. Now go give ‘em hell.
James Victore is an artist, activist, author and firestarter who teaches creatives how to illuminate their individual gifts in order to achieve personal greatness. Described as "part Darth Vader, part Yoda," James is widely known for his timely wisdom and impassioned views about design and it's place in the world.
Love to write?
Every month we select at few writers to help us explore what it means to live a life of reflection and intention. Reach out to Helen, our editor at Helen.W@holstee.com to learn more