5 Reasons to Stop Demanding New Work from Artists on Hiatus

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Instant gratification has become commonplace in the post-digital, consumerist society we live in. Streaming services like Spotify and Netflix, provide us with an infinite amount of entertainment at the tip of our fingers. Having the ability to binge watch TV shows or listen to any kind of music we want on command, leaves many of us feeling the creative work from people we are fans of should be churned out at the same speed Apple puts out new iPhones. Nowadays, if an artist takes some time to live their lives between albums (see: Rihanna, Frank Ocean, Maxwell, etc) or decides they want to just take a break to work on other things before writing the next season of your favorite sitcom (see: Donald Glover/Atlanta, Michael Coel/Chewing Gum, etc) it can leave fans who heavily consume their work with a sour taste in their mouth. The truth is that not only do artists have valid reasons for taking hiatuses but they also don’t owe you an explanation for doing so. Here are few reasons we should stop demanding artists on hiatus to put out new work.

1. They’re Human

Yep, that’s right. I know it seems like the people who are capable of conceptualizing and putting out a body of work you’ve spent hours of your life consuming seem like they’re super human, but they’re not. Aside from the fact that people have limitations who knows what artists could be going through behind the scenes that is preventing them from putting out new work. Stress, health issues, feeling uninspired and mental health are very real things that people battle silently and artists are no exception. Often times we put artists on pedestals and it prevents us from being empathetic towards them.

2. Financial Sustainability

Making art costs money and unless you’re someone with a huge team behind you or the ability to make money from other means creatively, sometimes it’s just not financially sustainable to create work for mass consumption -- this is why it’s so important to support the artists we love. How many times have we seen super talented people evaporate from the lime light because people didn’t support their work monetarily or because they were no longer booking gigs because their popularity waned? Business is business and if it don’t make dollars, sometimes it just don’t make sense.

3. Quality Over Quantity.

It’s very likely that the 58 minute album, 90 minute film or 300 page novel that you loved so much took many years to make. Quality work takes time and unless you’re an artist with an entire machine of talent to help supplement your creative blocks (or you’re Stevie Wonder during his Classic period in the 70s), making something worth putting into the world can take awhile. It took Solange 8 years to make Cranes in The Sky-- a masterpiece doesn’t happen over night.

4. They’re Trying Something New

Many of us have a bad habit of pigeonholing artists. We get to know them for a specific craft and they are then expected to only work within a certain box — how suffocating! Many artists may be supremely talented in one area but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have no interest in diving into other mediums or that they shouldn’t do so. Artists can grow tired of creating in one area and often times, it shows in the work they put out, you can tell when someone is forcing it. In fact, taking a break from our primary mediums can help create a new perspective when we decide to dive back into them. If the work hasn’t evolved or matured in a few years, it might be worth it to focus on something else for awhile and let it breathe.

5. Respect The Art

The bottom line is that while you may support the art and have a connection with it, you do not own artists or their artistry. It’s 100% at the discretion of the artist when to put the art out and while we may want more from them, we have to be appreciative of what they’ve already given. It takes a lot to not only create but to go as far as putting it out into the world which can often be thankless and unyieldingly demanding of creatives. If it is quality work, it’s something you could probably revisit multiple times so go listen to that album, read that book, or binge watch that series for the 30th time and calm down.