Same Teens let off steam about this months ‘Burning Issue’…Creative Industries

It seems the spurting of creativity is hard to stem on either end of the world. Reading Auckland based magazine ‘Pulp’ the other day I came across an article about artist Henrietta Harris which stated: “The creative industries are growing faster than our collective economies. No one’s keen to learn how to fix a watch or converse in Latin anymore. We wanna be stylists, fashion designers, Photoshoppers and rock stars”. It got me to thinking: why couldn’t a rock star dance around in his skinny jeans singing lyrics in Latin? Why aren’t fashion designers making put-together-your-own-watch kits? Just what the hell is a ‘zeitgeist’ because it sounds to me like a word Woody Allen would throw haphazardly into the air and watch fall (hard) on the heads of those around him. (Turns out it means “Spirit of the Age”… I so knew that without looking it up on an Online Dictionary)…

The fact that this true statement about the creative industries was written in a (actually very good) glossy magazine (think a New Zealand ‘Dazed and Confused’) goes to show that creativity is the new thing, the new spirit of the age. Scholarly ways, trades-people, the idea of reading The Iliad for fun… these trades and hobbies seem to fall to the dusty wayside in comparison to what a photographer can do with a fish-eye camera lens.

The sheer onslaught of those seeking to be the next, newest, shiniest Vice reporter or Italian Vogue shoot stylist gives into the very real reality of writing the back of Cornflakes packets and styling shoots for Baby Gap. And does that make the job any less creative? Is the craving underlying the veins of the ‘creative industries’ really a need to be known, talked about, admired? Is it the pursuit of ‘cool’ or the pursuit of ‘creating’? Is it (gasp and horror) the pursuit of happiness?

It’s a hard call to make and yet arguably there haven’t been so many people vying for creative attention in a long, long time. Because surely those in the ‘high art’ end of the scale – the Romantics, the Modernists, the Dada’s – weren’t they all doing the same thing as we are today only now the buzz-word ‘MEDIA’ can be banded about. Now we have web design and film making, photo shoots and fashion. Now a mere poetry collection couldn’t bring a country to its knees as Wordsworth and Coleridge’s ‘Lyrical Ballads’ once did but Perez Hilton’s blogging phenomena can cause the celebrity bubble to burst within seconds of a Twitter feed going live. It’s a fine line and one traversed by many.

Is it now that there is finally a craving for a career that can fill one with enjoyment and a sense of fulfillment that the vigorous 9 to 5 lifestyle cannot compete with? There are a hundred and one questions which can be asked, yet one thing can be certain – to dream of being an artist, writer, stylist, photographer, singer, rock star, graphic or fashion designer surely means you can’t be dreaming of money because the ‘creative industries’ are run by businesses, managers, PR and ‘those at the top’- you mere creatives at the bottom are squeezed and juiced, and are missing at least 15% of your income. So to those who say ‘fame and fortune’ are the zeitgeists of our times are surely being cynical because if it all boils down to money, to fame, to celebrity then we are an age of vapidity and greed. Although we might not crave knowing how to decline Latin verbs or how to insert cogs into a watch, I would prefer to live in an age which thinks of the creativity, the search for invention and inspiration… even if it only results in a Cornflakes packet that’s really, really well designed.

Words by Jade French, Same Teens

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