Opinion

A Twisted Game of Life Highlights the Pitfalls of the Creative Process

The Creative Process, a twisted infographic that captures the twists and turns of making art and getting it shown.
The Creative Process, a twisted infographic that captures the twists and turns of making art and getting it shown. (click to enlarge)

Ah, the mysteries of the creative process. I’m sure most of Hyperallergic’s readers know it well: the nagging self-doubt, the crippling perfectionism and the sense that someone, somewhere must have done this before. And then, after all that, maybe, just maybe, a shot at genuine recognition.

The Creative Process, an infographic by Viruscomix floating around infographic social network visual.ly, shows the twists and turns of the creative process in a labyrinthine landscape not unlike a twisted version of the Game of Life boardgame. It all starts with an idea, in the bottom left corner, as a painting packed in a truck pulls out of a grungy garage-cum-studio. From there, the creative soul can choose one of three options: a shortcut to fiery doom on the Self Doubt track; an express route informed by confidence and self-delusion and willfully failing to realize that “it’s just art”; and, most commonly, a long-winding “scenic route” filled with pitfalls and challenges.

These are some of my favorite bits.

  • The circuitous route of comparing oneself to others, with 795,000+ laps around insecurity, pettiness and fear, among others.
  • The drive-in theatre of indolence, with lazy signs to direct you to your destination.
  • The motivation gas pump, where you can fill up on ambition and pride before crossing the harrowing bridge of the critic-troll.
  • The endless pitfalls of crushing, burning, bottomless self-doubt awaiting your every turn.

It’s a darkly humorous infographic that seems to suggest that all you need is talent, drive and self-confidence to make it as an artist (class, race, gender, education and sexual orientation on the road to stardom get nary a mention). Of course, even after surviving all this and getting your work on display, someone’s going to call it a piece of crap. But if you’ve managed that long, hey, at least you get a show.

Now, all we need is an art world board game.

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