Do You Have to be Cool to be a Creative?

When starting out as a creative, it seemed like there was a cool club of the most talented people, and I was definitely not invited. Maybe this was part of the allure of being a creative. But the truth is that there is no cool club, only people who are excited about sharing their love of creativity.

The feeling that we’re not good enough, not cool enough, not interesting enough, not Z A N Y enough to be part of the creative community can really hold us back. It makes us feel like the most important asset we bring as creatives our ability to appear hip and with it.

I’m not saying there is no room in the creative sphere for some kind of edgy mystique, and in fact, I am drawn to a lot of work like this. For instance, I like work that seems more connected to the art world, work that is more abstract and bold. But I am saying there should be room in creativity for every kind of taste.

I used to frequent an ongoing meet-up of creatives, and it was mostly regulars who knew each other or who were in some way connected. Significantly, I think there was a sort of unspoken, mutually shared taste in the kind of work we were into and, perhaps, more subtle things like personality. We were an open group and new people were always welcome, or so I thought. One time, an outsider showed up, and being so clearly different, I could tell he was not welcome by others in the group. I could sense he didn’t quite share that unspoken, mutually shared taste — and others said as much. It could just be human nature and not really about creativity at all — it’s hard to relate to people we don’t have much in common with. But it is also just plain old snobbery.

Cool clubs are for high school. Creativity is for the geeks — the people who value community, connection, building each other up. We may come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. For instance, I am a selfish lone wolf, through and through. But I do not kid myself — I need other people, and I need to feel a part of the creative community.

If there is a club at all — if we aim to be a part of anything with certain requirements for membership — it’s simply the greater creative community. The requirements are simple — come, bring your passion for being creative, bring your best work, find something that you are good at making or doing that others in this community will benefit from.

Image by Tom Froese

You are invited. Whatever your level of experience or talent, you are good enough to join the creative community. Sometimes the most unwelcoming, uninviting presence is our very own selves. Who is stopping you from making and sharing? Who are the people telling you that you can’t join in? If any real person exists, they’re not in my creative community. They’re not invited. But you are.

Do you love creativity? Are you passionate about what you make? Does the world of shape, colour and texture deeply move you? Do you have a flame burning inside you to make work, to share it, to gather with others who feel the same? You are already a part of the creative community. Don’t feel like you have something to give? Simply come and bring your energy and desire to learn. That’s all there is to it. You’re in, and you are welcome here.


Adapted from a recent Instagram post.


Categories: Wednesday Wisdom

Author:Tom Froese

Tom Froese is an award winning illustrator and designer in Vancouver, British Columbia. Working independently since 2013, Tom has worked for companies, organizations and small businesses around the world. Clients include Yahoo!, Air Canada, GQ France, and Abrams Publishing. He is also a Top Teacher on Skillshare, where he teaches a handful of classes based on his unique approach to illustration.

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