The Artist’s Manifesto is a creative philosophy for life and work that encompasses a set of principles, the execution of which brings about results known as Purposeful Accident. Purposeful Accident is the inevitable coming about in our experience of favourable circumstances when we set out on purpose to engage, playfully but intently, in our chosen work simply for the sake of it.
The Artist’s Manifesto does not attempt to convert you to a particular system of belief or ask you to hang your potential for worldly success on arbitrary concepts. It makes no promises. Instead, it asks you to let go of potentially damaging preconceived ideas of personal worth, of creative success, and the need to have results turn out in a particular way. It points in the direction of a universal truth, one that underlies all creativity and artistic endeavour. My wish is that you will find this universal truth somewhere in these pages.
The Artist’s Manifesto
- Short Form Version
- Chapter 1: What Is An Artist?
- Chapter 2: The Creative Work
- Chapter 3: Purposeful Accident
- Chapter 4: Embracing Solitude
- Chapter 5: Why Create
- Chapter 6: Time
- Chapter 7: The Creative Self
- Chapter 8: Mastery
- Chapter 9: Happiness
- Chapter 10: The Exchange
- Reader Bonuses
- Go to the Home Page
In May 2017 I wrote and published the first draft of The Artist’s Manifesto as a short ebook on my website. Like all first drafts, it was rough (very rough), but it captured something that had been with me for a long time. I have since edited and refined that original document perhaps a dozen times or more but the core principle remains the same. That is; to outline the imperative for all human beings to engage in work primarily for the sake of it, for its inherent enjoyment, without the need for applause or recognition. In doing so, the book proposes a philosophy for life and work whereby creative people everywhere and in all domains may realise happiness, fulfilment and creative success, how ever we may define it. The principles in this book are of a fundamental nature, and I do not claim them as my own. What you’ll read is merely an interpretation from my unique perspective. These things have been said many times, by many people, and in many different ways. However, the realisation this book points towards is always the same. I hope you find it just like I did.
In a world that demands our attention and immediate response, a world that is dominated by data, information and constant stimulation, it is a significant challenge for us to remain focused and dedicated to something outside the mainstream. Those of us who do are in the minority, often castigated, seldom celebrated. In our contemporary society, to be busy is right and proper. To be productive and efficient in our daily work is paramount and it is upon this we are deemed suitable members of society. On the inside, there is safety in numbers, conformity, sameness and mediocrity. On the outside, there is danger, isolation and failure. We are measured, and we, in turn, measure each other in economic terms. The more we get done the more we are considered valuable. The more shiny things we own the better off we are. It is from this flawed perspective of work, that the dominant state of mind driving human behaviour in western industrialised society is expressed.
Ultimately, this mode of thought and behaviour is damaging to human beings. Our constant attention to environmental stimuli and our emotional reaction to events and circumstances creates an always-on mind incapable of finding lasting peace. Stress, anxiety and depression are our constant companions in our perpetual pursuit of happiness. In desperation to feel positive emotion, we choose short-term gratification from shopping, entertainment, drugs and alcohol. En masse, this behaviour drives economies, but at what cost to us? Ironically, the work we often despise so much, the work that provides us with a means to an end, cash to buy stuff we don’t need and pay off debts, is often the very thing that can provide a route to the long-term fulfilment and happiness we crave. If we could only move away from our transactional, future-reward based relationship with work and engage with it for its own sake, we might realise that thing we are striving for is already here. By encouraging complete dedication to our craft solely for the enjoyment that it brings us, the Artist’s Manifesto may provide that route.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
Favourable circumstances, events, experiences and apparent coincidences found at the opposite end of dedication and commitment to a given craft or art, are what I have come to term, Purposeful Accident. You will read how Purposeful Accident is not something that can be forced, coerced or fooled into being by shallow surface level motivation built on the outside influence of others, societal or peer group demands. Rather it comes about by itself, by the natural consequences of being present and engaged in complex work without ulterior motive or need to have results turn out a particular way. This Artist’s Manifesto attempts to communicate its message through a philosophy encompassing the principle of Purposeful Accident and other related ideas and concepts.
This book is not a quick fix for a broken or misdirected career. It’s not a life-saving solution for the self-depreciated. It is not a system, the application of which you and I may become famous or materially successful. It is instead an arrow pointing the way, psychologically and metaphysically speaking, towards a peaceful state of mind and a fulfilling way of life. In that fulfilment, we may come to know a more profound sense of self, and finally understand that there is no future toward which we must toil and labour unhappily for a lifetime. There is no better version of you and me towards which we must strive. There is no requirement for us to demonstrate our worth, for to whom would we demonstrate it? The Artist’s Manifesto says that success, whatever way we may define it, is the natural consequence of being immersed entirely in our chosen field of work purely for its own sake. The Artist’s Manifesto says that it’s not our job to make things happen, it will happen on its own if left to do so. So make what you will, immerse yourself in it, then sit back and admire what comes about.
Read The Book For Free
I intend to make this philosophy available to everyone so I built this website where you can read for free. As well as publishing each chapter in full, you may also wish to download a copy to your tablet or e-reader to access later. When you join the community of artists and creatives (it’s free btw), you will have access to the MP3, PDF, Mobi and ePub short form versions of the book.
For Patrons and those of you who buy the Kindle or paperback, there is also the full-length version of the book in MP3, PDF, Mobi and ePub, private articles and other premium content available in the Patrons area (you get details where this can be found in your receipt email). So, while you decide if the book is for you, you may read the full-length version right here. Begin by reading the Foreword written by my fellow author, Patron and supporter, Bobby Kountz.