Of Talents and Frames

I think this video carries a certain truth to it. I’ll go ahead an spoil it for you so I can get on with my pontificating. Basically Jewel dresses up like a nerdy, shy employee of some fictitious company and then goes to sing her own songs at a karaoke bar. Intriguing concept…

Even though her appearance was disguised her talent could not be hidden. The people in the crowd were awe struck by her performance even though it came from the most unlikely candidate. True art has the capacity to break through barriers and captivate an audience. But there’s a catch…

The Washington Post did an experiment featuring the world-renown violinist Joshua Bell. The setup was simple, Josh (yeah, we’re pretty tight like that so I just call him Josh) dressed in casual clothes and played several classical pieces outside a metro stop during the morning rush hour. …and nothing happened.

All told he made $32 and only half a dozen people paused to give him the time of day. Now, I would say that Josh is more talented than Jewel (one man’s opinion anyway) yet the difference between these two scenarios is context. The WP article said it well when describing the experiment as “art without a frame.”

So many people are bursting with talent but they’re standing in front of the wrong audience. Your song, painting, design, recipe, photograph, etc. is ready to be shared. Put it in a frame –any sort of frame will do for now; just get it hung– and then get back to work.

Create your art. Share it. And then go do it again.

True talent can’t be hidden if you just give it some context.

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