The Einstein Approximation is an episode of the Big Bang Theory where Sheldon is stumped with a physics problem of electron behavior that he can’t quite figure out. At one point, he decides to work at the Cheesecake Factory. His idea is to work a menial job to find his answer as Albert Einstein did when working at the Patent Office in Switzerland where he discovered special relativity. And alas, for Sheldon it worked.
I bring this up because several months ago I took a day job. It doesn’t mean the studio has passed into oblivion (as the rumor seems to say); it means my creativity was stifled and I needed change. As with Sheldon’s theory, I looked for menial in exchange for creativity. A creative breakthrough, you might say.
Menial is probably not the best word to describe my day job. My day job is far from menial. But it is second nature. It’s something I’ve been doing for years (far longer than photography) and the creative atmosphere of the job helps to ensure the creative atmosphere of the studio.
Creatives take day jobs for various reasons. Sometimes it’s a matter of security. Sometimes you get lucky, but generally, creativity isn’t exactly a high profit game. We could go on to provide mundane work to line our pockets, but when the matter of business is the creative, then lining pockets is much easier with a weekly paycheck than sacrificing creative endeavors for lackluster work. At that point, the dream is gone.
Which leads to another reason for taking a day job. Ridding oneself of lackluster work. Once a creative has settled into lackluster work, it takes a lot to change the habit. While I’m not a firm believer in creative blocks, I do realize they exist. While having a day job limits the hours devoted to creativity, it at least pulls one away from the just doing aspect of business for the sake of business and opens the creative gray matter to a wide variety of possibilities.
Now I will admit I’m probably more fortunate than many creatives when it comes to the day job and the effect it has on my creative life. My day job is creative. Like I said, far from menial. I work in a very creative environment with a group of talented creatives (painters, designers, woodworkers). And while we go about the business of business, we also spend hours talking about art, from the concept of the art itself to the marketing of our art reaching the world. Because I work with fellow artists, we vent our frustrations with the industry and play critic to the world of art itself.
So really, the day job? Couldn’t ask for a better situation. The studio has grown and expanded with the addition of the day job. Ideas have opened. Opportunities have appeared. It’s creative meaning while banishing the mundane. Put the rumors to rest.