The future isn't something to be nailed down, defined, and programmed. The only way to influence it is to keep noticing. While an efficient mind-set prizes predictability and continuity, an artist's passion for exploration develops the capacity for change. For years now, we've been encouraged to develop "the brand you," to adopt, as businesses or individuals, an unwavering, fixed positioning that everyone can recognize and rely on. But for artists, brands are toxic, suppressing the lively evolution that keeps them growing. . . .
Artists often change before they have to. Fans and followers frequently deplore these moments of evolution, when musicians adopt or abjure new technology, when painters change media, when writers shift style or genre. Ibsen was forever frustrating his champions by his furious refusal to be tied down by their definition of him. Picasso's shifts in style baffled critics. Fans of Schoenberg's gorgeous classicism were dismayed and disgusted by his adoption of the twelve-tone scale. Even James Joyce's staunchest supporters balked before diving into Finnegans Wake. Many Miles Davis fans never forgave his electric years. It took decades before Bob Dylan's fans got used to the idea that change was the point, that developing self was Dylan's subject.
-Margaret Heffernan, Uncharted: How To Navigate The Future