Whether it’s the subtle inspiration of nature, the wisdom and thought (and escapism) in books, the medley of colors in art, or the intense emotion that is provoked through music, I love every form of creative expression for the beauty and pleasure they provide. Art – through dance or musicals or sculpture or poetry – has the ability to evoke the senses, stir the soul, and even create debate (or controversy, depending on the audience).
For something that is such a huge part of me and my life, I find myself once again questioning the work/life balance in terms of creativity. How do you express your creative individuality in an office environment while maintaining that degree of required professionalism?
The question was brought up by Andrew Norcross, who wondered what kind of artwork would be appropriate for his office walls. Every office I’ve ever been in has the standard Monet, Renoir, or Degas prints, and though I personally love the Impressionists and would most likely choose one as an extension of my tastes, they absolutely don’t fit everyone.
And neither do ducks on a pond, lighthouses by the sea, or cottages in a field of wildflowers, which is the artwork I notice most often in doctors’ offices, usually for sale.
However, there seems to be a reason for why these prints are so favored in professional settings, and unfortunately that reason has nothing to do with personal taste, but everything to do with office politics. Not only do these works of art emphasize a sense of overall serenity, but they dispel controversy (which also means that they don’t create conversation, which is a whole other post you can look for tomorrow).
I see both sides of the coin. On the one side, the office should be free from something that could essentially create distraction and spark more stress. On the other side, most individuals have a desire to express themselves creatively, and, with eight hours spent at a desk, that is usually done through customizing their surroundings.
So how does one exhibit their individual tastes in this kind of professional setting? Do you compromise and strike a balance that will appease both parties? Do you rock out to your favorite bands at home, but play soft jazz in the office? Do you perhaps choose your favorite artist, but go for a print that is more professional?
Does that then stifle your individual and creative self?
Because my tastes are so eclectic, I’ve found that I’ve been able to easily compromise and find my own balance in this regard, but it’s not that easy for everyone.
How do you find balance?