Surround Yourself with Creative People

It wasn’t the first time I had heard it but when I read one of the articles in the latest issue of Layers Magazine about creating compelling photographs I was really struck by such a simple and obvious yet profound concept: surround yourself with artists to grow as an artist.

The basic idea around that portion of the article was that there are so many people who are likely, even eager, to be naysayers and messengers of doom and gloom who are probably only looking to build themselves up by making those around them feel small and discouraged. The author of the article describes being around these types of people like being exposed to second-hand smoke. Not only should you not breathe it in, you should run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.

The alternative is much more rewarding, and ultimately more beneficial to your health. Thankfully there are also other creative people out there who aren’t driven by some selfish desire to feel better than everyone else. These people thrive on creating their art and just exude an energy that invigorates those around them.

Amazingly, these types of people recognize that helping others grow, in turn, helps them to push themselves as well. Rather than lowering the dignity of the community, this second type raises the level of discourse and sets the stage for the emergence of even greater and as yet undiscovered possibilities within ourselves and within the medium as a whole.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a number of creative people who have challenged me to be better, and more true to myself because of their encouragement, vision, and knowledge of who they are as artists. I know, for me, it’s a constant struggle to ignore the distracting voices and listen to those who are trying to help me find my own.

Who are some of the creative people that you surround yourself with? How do they help you renew, refocus, and re-create your passion?

Comments:
  • I’ve only been able to surround myself with creative people online (Twitter & Facebook) and it has helped too a degree. I think the biggest issue with this has been finding people who can help you grow by offering constructive critiques when asked for them instead of just always saying great shot. It’s hard to find these people. Either people are unwilling to say anything in fear of offending or they offer advice that is not very helpful.

    Thankfully I have found a few photographers that have a similar vision/style as mine who have been able to give me feedback that helps and I am very grateful of them.

    November 12, 2009 at 4:28 pm

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