Why do most of us find it so hard to have a life so easy?
We imagine turning up the volume on the things about life that we truly love, and conversely because an object cannot occupy two separate places at the same time, turning way down the volume on the things about life that we don’t love so much.
Imagine living life as a quest of seeking out the juiciest pieces to enjoy, to follow the path they lead us down (which is often no path at all) and to celebrate life by living it. Those that live this way are sometimes called Bohemians by us.
That is not to say that everyone we typically think of as Bohemian is truly loving their life. Of course not. Having tattoos, being in a band, living in a van with four other guys isn’t THE way to happiness. But, sometimes the artsy-types can be looked to for their dogged determination to live the way their inner voice dictates. They (especially the older ones) sure didn’t take the route of least resistance.
By definition, the artist is one who creates for a living. She is one who has chosen to provide their own choices not simply choose from the palate that society provides, not to simply not choose and go along with the flow. And yet, some of them because they like any other bunch of people are varied, might say that to them there is no choice to create. I once got into a chat with a girl who was a jewelry artist. She told me about her life “working” on and creating jewelery, having friends over and letting them create too, taking it with her on her hikes into the mountains, then taking her stuff to art shows and gypsy caravans to sell. Wow! I said. I told her I couldn’t imagine a life so full of creation where you are expected to do nothing but create and loving it all the while. She seemed surprised at what I said. I can’t imagine any other life. She said honestly.
To study in general the artist’s approach to life is to study the concept of living consciously– that is not to say that all artists live consciously. It is not to get into the discussion of what great art is, but rather we are seeking what a great life is. Artist, Mark Beam said it best: “I think my position, when I started, was that I wanted to have the artist’s lifestyle, to live like an artist. I made art day and night. I did that for probably twelve years, and it wasn’t a job. It didn’t feel like a job, and every time a company gave me money for art, I loved it! And I want to do this more! The whole thing about being an artist isn’t, “Oh, look at this great body of work I did.” It’s life — like when somebody buys something, or you meet someone, or you have this experience or that experience — that’s what being an artist is. The art is what’s left over after you’re dead, but as far as you and the value you are going to get out of art — that’s going to be the life that you lead.”
Guess what, guys. Being an artist isn’t an exclusive club. It’s a choice. Are you satisfied with your level of exploration? It’s the paring away of all that is non-essential. We can argue all day about whether Thomas Kinkaid is a real artist or not, but the question is whether he sleeps well during the night, lives well during the day. Is he weighed down or light as a feather?
To some of them, any desire to pay attention to them is mostly seen as an attempt to categorize them– and after all this is repulsive to what is true in their character. Theory sometimes gets in the way because thinking about what you want to create is much too abstract. Creating is the act. Choosing is what they do- not thinking or talking about choosing. And yet, under the right conditions, if pressed they, like us admit that it can be an adventure to doing what it is they do everyday.
What makes a Bohemian a Bohemian? A desire to categorize people who seemingly create a life in all its aspects from nothing, in their own image. Perhaps the term is outdated. These days Richard Florida in his books that analyze economic and lifestyle trends of what he calls the “Creative Class” labels what might otherwise be known as Bohemians as the Ultra Creative Core of the larger Creative Class with one notable exception. Florida draws a clean line around his creative class and its ultra-creative core by stipulating that he is interested in those who make their living with their creativity. But the the goateed wannabes who hold down day jobs working in the accounting office of some large corporation, the artist who sometimes sells her work, but supplements her income with waiting tables… he doesn’t spend much time with them. They are on the verge of transition. They are the outskirts of a new economy of finance and life, but haven’t yet crossed over. To Florida, the economist, they are still “service sector.”
In his masterpiece of a book, The Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida attributes an economic worthiness to the creative class. First of all, they are dynamic for their creativity. They are hard-working even though they work on their own terms. (They are always “on” by their own standards and seldom “on” by workplace standards.) And, they are attractive. Their tolerance, creativity, love of beauty and culture, mean that they attract more of their own kind. Corporations who want to innovate are also (surprise) attracted by them because they cluster together in great places and places made great by them. Essentially, Richard Florida’s thesis is whether the creatives make a place great or whether great places actively attract creatives, them being there makes for dynamic places rich in culture, and… well, rich. Property values increase where they cluster together. Options for jobs, mates and all other opportunities abound. Florida is looking at cities.
We’re looking at individuals. He’s macro. We’re micro. So, maybe if we extrapolate his theory we’ll see that the same thing that makes cities attractive (artistic element) also makes individuals attractive. If you want to attract to your personal life all the things that Florida describes as making a city great: opportunities, lifestyle, diversity, culture, freedom, mates, quality. Just add his magic word “creativity.”