What We Mean When We Ask For An Artist’s Assistance

We give the artist an idea and tell her to bring it to life with creativity. We have not said what we really mean; it is not her creativity we desire to see; it is our own.

We have decided, for some reason, that what we want done, we cannot do ourselves – not because we find ourselves lacking in vision and imagination, but because we find ourselves lacking in technical know-how.

We have asked the artist for her skill, not her artistry. We have failed to understand that a handwritten note does not look like a typewritten one, and that if we wanted photocopies done, we should not have gone to a calligrapher.

The artist is not a machine; she infuses creativity into her interpretation of an idea, and this is not always a favorable trait to us.

The artist is not a mind-reader. We want her to be, though, and she knows. Our commissions come with our vague instructions, and when she asks for clarification, we tell her to get creative with it, that we don’t mind. We receive our products and realize that we minded after all, that we always had our own visions in our heads, which we never had the language to articulate. And we expected the artist to have seen our invisible thoughts, despite everything. We have seen that this is ineffective.

Now it is up to us to begin to expect art when we request an artist’s assistance, or come into consciousness of how badly we want artists to be reduced to mere technicians. We have another option: to become artists ourselves, so that we may get what we want, as we want it – but this path is the hardest to follow.

-Akotowaa

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2 thoughts on “What We Mean When We Ask For An Artist’s Assistance

  1. “We receive our products and realize that we minded after all” You can usually see it on their faces and that’s when you realize that you should have charged by the hour.

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