How do we as designers and artists see ourselves

Art & Design | By Tafadzwa Gutsa, Graphic Designer | 17 May 2013

Purpose is the driver of all things great and out of it comes determination.

How do we Designers / Artists see ourselves? Most importantly, how do we see our roles? Are we regular employees making pretty graphics for a living? Are we just average citizens getting on with life? Do we see ourselves as having any meaningful influence in anything?

There are two groups of people, the people who govern and the people who are governed, and in another sense, the makers and the consumers.

Far too often we stop short of exhausting all the important questions. By reexamining the way we see our roles, we are better positioned to know when we are wasting time and when our time and capabilities are being wasted. For most design is a profession. You go to school, you find a job and you get on with life. That is the design profession as we know it.

However, in its true essence design is much more. It is a responsibility and should lead to some form of change. It is a gift that is in itself a burden. A lot rests in our hands and it is not what we might like but what we must do. We must surpass the level of likes and dislikes and only  be guided by truth and change. We must be guided only by final outcomes and final experiences, not final objects.

Medicine is not a profession, it is a responsibility and so too is politics and security. Purpose is the driver of all things great and out of it comes determination. A soldier who sees himself as an employee is useless to himself and to his nation. He has a distorted view of his role and does not understand what it means to be a soldier. If war was to come upon him he would not have anything to fight for but his own life. When we fight for our own lives the first and easier option is to flee since there is no need to die.

Let us not get it wrong, we are the makers and not the consumers. A father cannot see himself as part of the children. Most of what people are and will be rests in the hands of certain gifted individuals. We have created the good and the bad, but the bottom line is that we have created and that in itself underlines the responsibility that we have.

Every morning the garbage man wakes up and goes to work, the streets must be clean because that is his job, but above all we must live a healthy life, and that is his responsibility. That is how we measure his effectiveness. When a designer wakes up, things must either change or his actions should eventually lead to some form of change or outcome. Design seen otherwise is a hobby and benefits no one in any measurable way.

We must understand that our role has nothing to do with how much money we have or make and that however much we have is just another result of what we do. We are not here to do business, we are here to influence life. Business men do business. A saying goes, "artists are next to God".This points out to their ability to create out of nothing, things that have never existed.

There is no greater gift, there is no greater burden. We can choose to influence life or we can choose to make things pretty.

I remember boldly the words of one of my college lecturers, "You all came to study art, but out of you will come only one or at most two, true artists". He was basically giving reference to our characters and how hard it was to be an artist in its true essence. The sacrifice we had to make and the understanding of what we were getting into. We had to influence the people's lives and yet abandon our own in the quest, Just like soldiers would give up their own to give others.

There is no learning art, you are just like that. Born that way. Once a soldier, always a soldier. Studying teaching does not make us teachers. An artist is not one who paints, for we can all paint.

For people to understand art is to close all doors. It cannot be understood, it is never one thing and neither can it be arrived at logically. It can only be experienced.

If you are reading this you're probably an artist, maybe, but I do know you make things pretty.