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If you are an artist, stop masturbating

Creativity and Innovation

Do you want to come and watch my one-man show?

I cannot think of a phrase which generates more fear, cringe and excuses for why you are not available that night, or for the rest of the year.

Now don’t get me wrong.

There are many examples of beautiful Solo Performances in Theatre, Film, Comedy and Music throughout history.

Often, even though only a single person performs these pieces, they are written, directed, produced and set up by entire teams, with the aim of entertaining and moving the audience.

However, I would argue that there are even more solo shows which are terrible.

Many artists want to prove their worth as an creative, and one way of doing this is showing that they are able to put together a story which the world needs to hear, and producing work which reflects who the artist themselves is.

And to then also perform this piece themselves.

Where the trouble begins is whether the artist wants to be generous or selfish in their art.

Generous art is produced for the audience.

It is creative, original and its aim is for the viewer to experience their own emotions.

Selfish art is for the artist. Its aim is to give the artist the feeling they are seeking, whether it is significance, importance, attention or achievement.

Selfish art allows the artist to say “LOOK AT ME” without using those words explicitly.

Many Solo Performances, whether or not the artist is aware of what they have produced, fall into this category.

It is similar to how many innovators think they are validating their ideas, when in fact they are hoping for validation of themselves.

Generous artists perform for the enjoyment of others (and often experience their own enjoyment as a result).

Selfish artists perform for their own enjoyment.

It is similar to masturbation.

So if you are an artist, please, be generous.

Generous art is remembered. Selfish art is forgotten.

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