Art vs. Brand


I’ve got a friend named Arthur and a friend named Brandon. When we hang out, typically, an argument breaks out. Very rarely can the three of us get together without a heated exchange of words.

Arthur is incredibly gifted creatively. He’s very passionate about authenticity and has a way of communicating things in a new and unique manner. At his core is artistic integrity. This is for two main reasons. One, he believes that art in itself is a sacred gift and deserves to be treated as such. Two, people are valuable and deserve to be served with integral art. He loves the challenge of digging deep and making the listener think, understanding that as human beings our minds and hearts are meant to be stretched. He doesn’t want to mimic other art, for that to him is not creating, that’s copying. He desires to reflect his Creator, not reflect a reflection of Him. Of course Arthur knows that everything he creates is in some way a derivative, but he labors to make sure that that derivative is not watered down and still holds to his value of originality and authenticity. He relies heavily on the right side of his brain, doesn’t over-explain things, and is completely okay not fitting into a niche. The art speaks for itself. It needs no explanation, title or genre. For the freedom to express new creative ideas opens up the door for conversations to be had in a way they’ve never been had before.

Brandon is very creative as well. He takes great pride in presentation. He’s passionate about efficiency and effectiveness. He doesn’t want to waste time just creating stuff. He wants to make sure whatever is being created can find it’s way through the clutter, for his priority is for art to have a maximum impact. Brandon is more concerned with tangible and predictable outcomes. He researches constantly, learning new trends and what seems to work and not work. He would even say that the art is secondary and should serve and follow a marketing plan, for art that is aimless will not hit any target.

Brandon always gets on Arthur for not having concrete goals and specific objectives. Arthur lashes back and accuses Brandon of sucking the life out of ideas and making everything a formula. If Brandon and Arthur could find a way to co-exist and find a way to work well with each other, they’d make a great team. I wonder if it’s possible at times, can the core motive of art work harmoniously with the core motive of brand?

My problem with Brandon is that he’s so focused on the numbers and the physical realm that he tends to undermine the value of the unseen and the beauty of creativity and innovation. Perceived success or failure determines the worth of the art to Brandon, not the inherent quality of the art itself.

My problem with Arthur is that rejection has hardened him over time so now he’s very defensive. Even when someone is trying to help, if he feels threatened in any way he puts up a wall. He tends to place the integrity of art on a pedestal and pride can override humility and servanthood, and sometimes his fear of selling out can prevent him from selling anything at all. 

Welcome to the inside of my brain. I am Arthur. I am Brandon. I am WAY more Arthur than Brandon, but I have both of them in me. Call it the right and left brain, call it the artist and the business man, call it years of being in an industry and the result of many challenging conversations. No matter what, this is a real dilemma for those of us with creative gifts. It's a very difficult line to walk when considering both of these perspectives. Sometimes I'm overthinking it, a lot of the time, but that doesn't minimize the reality of the dilemma. A dual minded man is unstable in all his ways. I have to be very careful to surrender these extremes and place people around me that I can trust and let speak into the chaos.

This blog is not an attempt to solve the problem. It’s simply a creative idea that I thought some of you could relate to in some way. As a creative person I’ve often felt defective when being lectured by individuals telling me what they think I should do. The “You just need to…” line is so insulting. But here I am, grateful for all these years God has provided me the opportunity to create (not just music) and connect with people. Super excited with a new found courage to release new music. It takes the God who created creativity to provide the wisdom how to steward this gift He game me.

With that said, if Brandon was real he would probably tell me this blog is too long, it’s too abstract. That people don’t have time to read all this and they don’t care enough and don’t get it. That I should be researching popular tag words and posting relevant info and aiming at a niche target audience. Maybe Brandon is right. But I legitimately enjoyed typing this blog. If you enjoyed reading it, thank you for taking the time to hear my thoughts. Maybe you have some of your own you'd like to share. I'd like to hear them.

Brian Reith5 Comments