Artists make art look easy. That is part of the fascination that holds our gaze and our attention. Through the medium, we are spoken to and sometimes we understand deeply.
Sometimes we are fooled into thinking that it is, in fact, easy and when coupled with the wealth and status bestowed upon great artists, we want desperately to partake. When young Courtney Cox was hauled up on stage in Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 video, Dancing in the Dark’ she fulfilled a fantasy in many a women’s heart. Evidently, “it could have been any one”, wishfully, “it could have been me”, and actually, it was an act.
Our inclination to illustrate that we too, are capable of creating fascinating work is so strong that sometimes we go to great lengths to prove it. The thing is, most people do not have innate talent, and most people do not invest the 5,000 to 10,000 hours it takes to become proficient. When we do try to prove it we end up proving something entirely unintended.
Creativity by committee, when individuals are so intent on putting their mark on the creative process that they are willing to subvert the message for their own personal notoriety, is an example of the strength of our inclination to be on stage with the band.
The philosophy of the award winning advertising firm TAXI directly addresses the need for a highly scrupled and tightly knit group of creatives. That is that the group should be small enough to fit into a taxicab and all headed in the same direction.
Every seat taken up by a client member is at the expense of the artistic talent and the potential expression of the agency. Of course the client should be driving the cab, but when they are also riding “shotgun”, the results may suffer.
It is sometimes a message that clients need to hear and even though it may sound like, “get off the stage,” it really speaks to the integrity of the artist/agency and should be interpreted as, “there’s a bus coming in 15 minutes, we’ll meet you there.”
Applause lowers the threshold of thoughtful analysis, and renders the mind more susceptible to concepts and emotions it would otherwise guard against. When we applaud someone, we are giving him or her carte blanche—an open door to our mind. We are saying, "Whatever you say, whatever you do, I want it!"