Updated: Aug 16
The earlier “Two forms of self-sabotage” blog suggested that creativity is something that is outside of us, but it can take anyone over. The more dedicated we are to an art the more statistically likely excellence might occur.
Intuition, or simply commonsense alone, should suggest that groups like film directors, pianists, violinists, sculptors, or painters, etc., with global recognition, and being the greatest in their fields, occupy tiny minorities. However, the more dedication that was offered and continues to be offered, the greater the chance that exceptional world standards can be reached.
Those small minorities attract overwhelmingly high fractions of both public, and any specialist interest. Perhaps the most striking example is that of film directors. Steven Spielberg must have many hundreds of millions of people view his work, whilst more niche or perhaps local directors, may be thrilled if a thousand people sit through one of their films. Film directing is a bit of an anomaly in the above list because its path to greatness is less definable. For example, to be a great pianist, you will do something like study your eight grades locally, go to college, maybe have masterclasses, start concertising, then perhaps study abroad at a great conservatoire, e.g., Moscow or Paris, and make more connections, etc., etc., and it’s a steady climb.
Without collectors, i.e., buyers, amateur players, less than standout professional players, listeners, and viewers, these industries would not exist. I say industries rather than art forms very deliberately, because without complex financial networks to enable, facilitate and sustain them, these essentially entitled non-self-sufficient occupations, wouldn’t be viable, and would be harder to pursue. As greatness is essentially a numbers game, resting on favourable statistics, greatness would become rarer.
In essence, artistic structures are very much full of the more mediocre members, and their purpose is to make possible a world in which creative genius can be discovered, protected, and witnessed.