Contrary to Popular Belief, It Takes A Village

More often than not, the underlying vision behind a great piece of art – a photo, a film, a painting, a play, a whatever – comes from a single source. Dostoevsky hatched the vision for The Brothers Karamozov, Andreas Gursky for his huge surreal images, Warhol for his Brillo boxes.

But in almost every case, making art, sharing it, selling it, giving it wings, and cultivating it’s adoption throughout popular culture requires that the creative piece touch a lot of hands. Fans, gallerists, DP’s, agents, Creative Directors, lawyers, assistants, partners, editors…the list goes on.

Generally speaking we are pros at one thing. And a most professional approach to making art and sending it out into the world is that you recognize this, recognize other professionals for what they bring to the table, and treat them with respect and appreciation. Gone are the days when people will work with a talented jerk for longer than a white-hot second. Gone are the days when an artist emerges from her basement with the next Ulysses by herself and lives wealthy or fulfilled and happily ever after.

In short, it takes a village.

Want to be a successful creative? Cultivate your village. Cultivate your network, your relationships, your support, your mentors and friends. Without them, your journey will be a short one.

23 Responses to Contrary to Popular Belief, It Takes A Village

  1. Caleb March 16, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    Amen brotha!!! totally agreed!

  2. Philipp Ulrich March 16, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    Yep, you’re lost of you don’t have contacts in this world!

  3. DanielKphoto March 16, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Yep, on your one, it’s gonna be hard to get there. When you know the right people, you can work on it together! Thanks for sharing Chase :)

  4. Ivan Cabrera March 16, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    Inspiring, thanks for opening my eyes to an otherwise obscure theme.

  5. Nicolae Cioloca March 16, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Totally like that thought!

    Without other people there can`t be any inspiration/creativity.

  6. Chase March 16, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Success comes with access, access comes by people.

  7. John Lafond March 16, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    One of your best posts…and some great replies as well. Thanks Chase

  8. Christopher Cauble March 16, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Long story short…

    When I graduated from college 3 years ago, my goal in life was to be as anonymous as possible. I despised modern society. I would dream of living in a era of simplicity where warmth and light came from fire, and food came from hunting and gathering. For two years, I lived as simple and anonymous as possible…sort of like an “Into the Wild” lifestyle. All in the meantime, I continued my passion for photography and exploring beautiful and wild places. One day, about a year ago…I had an WWAD (What Would Ansel Do) moment. If I was to combine art with conservation/enlightenment, I was going to have to embrace social society. In less than a year of so-called revelation, I have made contacts via YouTube, Twitter etc. from around the world and needless to say it has been one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences in my life. I am forever thankful to the people I’ve met and look forward to all that I may have yet to meet; whether its tomorrow or 50 years from now. The importance of contacts and friendships will never again be taken for granted!

    With that said, thank you Chase for igniting deep emotions within me. Your approach to life and creativity has been a huge inspiration for me. Mad respect.

    Christopher Cauble

    • heaven mcarthur March 16, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

      beautiful. your vision blossomed from the simple. from the quiet. and from that you moved.

      so many of us get immersed too soon into doing without knowing truly what the heart is saying.

      i’m still striving to hear.

  9. Corey March 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    Thanks so much for posting this. I have worked in both camps and will always do great work for great people.

  10. Jon March 16, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    It’s true! Every defining moment in my creative career so far hasn’t been the work i’ve done, but who i’ve been able to share it with.

  11. Sarah March 16, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Valid. I think as artists that’s hard to embrace because we tend to want to work alone, in a studio, with the door closed and music blaring. Or maybe that’s just me :D

    Read Scott Belsky’s “Making Idea’s Happen” – fantastic book for creatives. I’m about halfway through and he’s currently trying to drive that point home. I believe Seth Godin also said something of the sort recently… maybe this is something I’m supposed to be learning…


  12. Joe March 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    I quite agree, with one proviso.

    One of the comments talks about contacts (Philipp), and that rings alarm bells for me. I suspect that what he means is actually more than mere contacts, but art does not get created by contacts, but by engaged, enthusiastic co-artists, all creating something very special within their own domain of specialisation, with lots of interaction.

    Contacts – mere ship’s that pass in the night – don’t cut the mustard when it comes to creating art. They can merely help mass produce mediocrity.

    Art is about caring, about telling a story, about making a difference.

  13. cris March 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    ver true!!!

  14. heaven mcarthur March 16, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    in all of life. this is truth. thank you.

  15. fas March 17, 2011 at 5:22 am #

    So very true, but in the end its all but worth it.

  16. diala chinedu March 17, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    Very true indeed. I run a small facebook page for my photography and I have gotten friend requests from people all over the world and it makes me feel fulfilled when I get an email or message from someone across the world asking me for help with their photography. Without this media for connection, i dont think I would have grown as a person because aside from giving to people all over the world, there is also SOO MUCH I have learned in return…

    This also applies to my photography business…all my gigs have come from friends who know I am a photographer. Because of them, I have made advancements I know wouldnt have been possible if I was a one man army…

    Thanks again for the true words and I hope non-believers take heed to the power of friendships and networking

  17. Anon April 5, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Chase, it’s “The Brothers KaramAzov”. Sorry, it didn’t look right to me. Thanks.

  18. Keesha June 23, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    Super jazzed about giettng that know-how.

  19. Kristel Hendershott July 29, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    that the defense cooperation involving the countries concerned to assistance regional peace and stability, rather than north face coat the reverse.Reporters a short while ago learned from the national network news and propaganda World wide web Details Office Bureau, lately circulated about the network,

  20. Van Fiscus November 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    Always good to find something new and interesting to learn from. Great website you’ve got here.

  21. Calvin Cropley May 2, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    Spot on right here! I don’t know what I’d do without my mentors and to the people who have supported me through this.
    I really need to find more people like them.
    It’s worth it big time.


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