Talent isn’t enough.

The first time I heard that statement, I don’t think I really agreed, until I took a closer look.

I had seen plenty of talented people have lots of opportunities that seemed to elude me. But I also have witnessed fellow art school students who were the top of the class talent-wise, crash and burn, leaving their art behind completely. 

And all these years later, I have seen the same for many successful professional creative people. 

It’s entirely possible to seem to have it all from an outward appearance, but to feel creatively bankrupt inside.

You can have an impressive client list.

You can have tons of awards and accolades.

And be utterly frustrated and dissatisfied.

I worked with fellow creatives in large advertising agencies with huge corporate clients you would know. So much creative energy was leveraged for the clients that nothing was left for their personal expression. The clients were king, leaving them feeling like there was no room for self-expression or creative freedom in their life.

It’s easy to build an empire that you can’t escape from. The never-ending cycle of creative pitches, client kiboshes, followed by frustration and discouragement. Rinse and repeat.

And it’s even more devastating when that empire is yanked away from you, because the powers that be decide on “creatively flushing the system.” I witnessed this up close in my first full-time creative position. Wide sweeping firing at all levels of the corporation in order to get new blood. Talent couldn’t save anyone.

While not everything you create is meant for public consumption or has a place within client-driven projects, what I am saying is that we need our own creative space. No clients. No agendas. No financial pressures. A place where we are free to play, experiment and make mistakes without occupational repercussions. 

While everyone is clamoring for the latest and greatest creative ideas, it’s easy to copy the culture around us while never diving deep enough to find something connected to what we uniquely have to offer. But here’s the honest truth: if you don’t take the time to cultivate your own voice, no one is going to do it for you.

This has all been part of my own journey. And as I talk with fellow creative people, I know I’m not alone. 

That’s a part of why I’ve put together my course “Your Artist Journey.” If any of those statements above resonate with you, feel free to visit my page for the course and find out how you can start moving towards developing your own unique creative journey.

Mike Brennan shares experiences through art & design. Some of his work includes custom “Rockstar” pet portraits, pop culture art, yoga art, live event sketching, original paintings, and graphic design. He also authored / illustrated the book “Dear Snow: One Man’s Angry Rant Against Winter”. While the media and subject matter may vary, Mike creates art that shares experiences around themes to form connections with his audience. Visit Mike at MikeBrennan.me.
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Mike Brennan shares experiences through art & design. Some of his work includes custom “Rockstar” pet portraits, pop culture art, yoga art, live event sketching, original paintings, and graphic design. He also authored / illustrated the book “Dear Snow: One Man’s Angry Rant Against Winter”. While the media and subject matter may vary, Mike creates art that shares experiences around themes to form connections with his audience. Visit Mike at MikeBrennan.me.

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