Beyond Genius, Obsession and Patronage: Technology and the Enabling of Creativity in the 21st Century
This paper is rooted in the premise that artistic creativity is a trait shared, at least in some degree, by all humans. The work then explores the ways in which the intellectual and commercial marketplaces have systematically – through variations on a basic patronage system – restricted access to methods of artistic expression and distribution to artists who are either extremely gifted, truly obsessed, or both. The result is an environment of the arts that excludes the creative expressions of most of humanity. The paper concludes with an argument that, for the increasing numbers of people to whom such tools are available, artistically enabling software – music, graphic, video, etc., - has the potential to liberate the artist locked within us all. The paper further argues that the digital distribution and marketing systems made possible by the Internet have the potential to reconfigure the art marketplace by allowing “citizen artists” access to audiences and customers formerly reserved for artists vetted by a small cadre of agents, gallery owners and experts.
Keywords: Creativity, Technology, Digital Media, Marketplace, Artist, Patronage
Dr. Robert L. Schrag
Professor, Department of Communication, North Carolina State University