There was a time when I thought, naively, that becoming an artist would benefit me in terms of my emotional and mental wellbeing. This theory was rooted in what I considered to be my understanding of the human condition years ago. I figured I would stay true to myself and explore the things that made me feel whole.
Enter a new decade: a world flipped upside down, completely backwards. Seemingly every person working (or aspiring to work) in any creative industry like my own has been indoctrinated, manipulated, conditioned and pressured into having the same exact opinion on every single topic. Everyone is – to paraphrase from Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club – “a copy of a copy of a copy.”
When I was growing up, there was a sense of rebellion among kids. It really wasn't all that long ago. People, in general, lived life with healthy amounts of skepticism; they questioned authority and they didn't bend over backwards at each and every demand of the state.
What do we have today? The state says, “jump” and the plebs ask, “how high?” This, ironically, as they smoke their government approved pot and waste away.
I saw a meme the other day that directly mocked a band that I am embarrassed to admit I used to listen to. “You're not punk unless your social and political views align perfectly with those of every major corporation.” Thankfully, what's even more embarrassing than what used to be on my MP3 player in high school is that countless lost souls consider themselves to be a part of a modern day counterculture. No such thing exists in reality.
Being an artist in this day and age is next to impossible for those who embrace individualism with no regard for popular opinion. Most artistic genres and mediums might as well be nonexistent. If you are a second-rate version of someone else, your work, in turn, can only ever be a second-rate version of theirs. Think about it.