When it comes to being consistent, especially within an artistic sense, you really should think about your vision and mission statement.
This is something that I have written and rewritten many times. Yeah, there goes my consistency. But the truth is, that it is ever changing and evolving as we grow as people and creators.
We develop as people and as artists. There are things that we want to say and express, but we change. So, our vision and mission must change too.
Have a written vision and mission statement to guide your creativity.
How You See Yourself, is How You Appear to Others.
I used to describe myself as a photographer. Then, as a content creator. But I’ve come to think that I really should be thinking of myself as an artist
There are things that I want to communicate. Messages that I want to share and feelings that I want to express. It is more than just taking good looking snap shots or looking to make a “BANGER” on Instagram. For me, there is more to it. I need to pick a place to speak from and really understand “Why?” I’m creating what I create.
I think Pro Surf Photographer, Russel Ord said something along the lines of:
It’s important to know why you’re taking these shots. If you don’t know why, then you’re just going through the motions.– Russel Ord, Surf Photographer
Why do you need a vision and mission?
You don’t, really. You could exist quite happily without one and just create what feels right to you. I’ve done it that way for many happy years.
But, if you want to start building a body of work and building a reputation for having something to say with your work, then having a vision and mission statement really helps you focus on what works for you. You will have a consistent message and voice when you run al l your ideas through the filter of your vision and mission.
What is an Artistic Vision?
Vision isn’t just “Vision”. It is built from three different areas. These are your :
IDENTITY is how you see yourself. This can also include the other artists or genres that influence and inspire you. Describing yourself as a mixture of the artists who influence you is a good way to start.
VISION is just that. What you see yourself and your work as doing. What will viewers get when they see your work? It closely links your personality with your work.
INTENTION is what you want to communicate with your work. What are you trying to show people that view your work?
Once you have thought through each of these, you really should write it down. I’ve written mine down and pinned it next to my desk. I get to see it every time I sit down to edit photos, plan a trip or write an new article.
I’ve also added an extra part to my artistic vision and mission. I included a statement about WHY is was creating the things I create. As Russel Ord said above, I don’t want to just be going through the motions. I want to have something to contribute.
The Problem Of Choice
I have always had tremendous freedom to try new things. But, it comes at the cost of not being able to choose one thing.
It’s like going into a restaurant and it being empty. Just an entire floor of tables to choose from. Then you are asked the terrible question, “where would you like to sit?”
There is too much choice. Inside or out? Window or booth? Near the kitchen or near the toilet? So, we get analysis paralysis. Having a vision and mission helps us cut through all the unimportant and get down to what is important. Creating what we love, in a way that shares a little of us and gets our message across.
My Vision And Mission Statement
As an example, here is my artistic vision and mission. This is very personal and you will certainly have your own way of filling out each of these headings. Which is great! The only person that it has to make sense to is you!
- Create my own thing and NOT IMITATE (avoiding Insta-trends that don’t resonate with my vision)
- Make something with ME in it.
- Create work that excites me about my passions for photography, paragliding and the outdoors. (I want to see my work and get fired up about getting out and doing it)
IDENTITY / INFLUENCES
- The Russle Ord / Chris Burkhard of Paragliding – with a little Perou and Platon mixed in. (Photographers that inspire me to create)
- Snowboard culture, magazines and films. It’s not just about the gear they use, it’s about the people and their lifestyle.
- Telling the stories of the culture, the people, the places and the adventures.
- To INSPIRE with emotion, cinematography and Storytelling.
INTENTION (Communicate What?)
- To be humbled in front of natures beauty and power.
- To make people yearn for the open sky and the freedom lifestyle.
There you have it. That is my artistic vision and mission. It’s what I am running all of my creative choices through. It’s also partly responsible for my lack of activity on Instagram of late.
I took the time out to reassess what I was doing and where I was going.
See my last article about Job Satisfaction for more on that.
Now that I had my vision and mission, I realized that a lot of the things that I would have just “Thrown Up On Social Media” would just be nice looking snapshots. They didn’t say much or communicate anything to do with my vision and mission as a visual artist.
However, if you start feeling that you have gone down the wrong route, don’t stick to it rigidly. Remember, you should always be open to tweaking your vision and mission as your grow. For example, I have changed my direction many times. But I feel that I am getting closer to what I truly want.
Getting out more.
However, I need to be able to get out more into the paragliding scene and into the landscapes and activities that make it such a great community. But, I have to balance family commitments too. To clarify, my wife has restarted work again after 1 year of maternity leave. So I now have our two children to prioritize.
They are my full time job. This is my side project. Never confuse the two!– #J
I don’t want that to sound like I resent it because it’s great being able to spend so much time with them as they grow. That is to say I have to make to most of every little second that I get.
This is another reason that having a vision and mission is a must. Because being able to go out, create with such a laser focus of intention helps me make the best use of my creative time.
So, do you need an artistic vision and mission statement?
I would say that you can get-by without one, but if you are ready to start building on your skills and really wanting to find your voice as an artist and creator, then it would certainly help you.
You get a chance to think selfishly. In other words, to consider what you really want out of this lifestyle we live. Work out how you are going to get there and then write down a way of doing it that not only makes you happy, but also builds you as an artist.
Find out what you want to say and how you are going to say it. Then all you have to do is stick to it … for now.