While finishing up some sculptures, I decided to put on a playlist of Buddy Rich's drum solos.
When I'm working, It feels like going underwater in the sense that whatever is going on outside of the studio is no longer there. As I worked with Rich's music as my backdrop, experiencing one solo after another, the vibrations and intensity of his performance running through me, I began to see a pattern.
There's something that he does in almost every solo that is the same. While each of his solos are complex and unique to each performance (he did not "practice"), there's this pattern of escalation that occurs where he is pattering it out so fast and then it reaches a climax before opening back up into the main theme of the song. These were live recordings, so you could hear the crowd responding to this moment.
There is a threshold that I think every artist encounters when they get praise for their work. Praise can be great, but it can also inhibit growth. When your work makes people happy, you have the option of getting paid to do it. While Art exists beyond commerce in a world of progress and natural conception, the transition between doing your work and getting paid for it has a lot to do with one's personal level of comfort with making people happy, and a willingness to learn a little about documenting your work.
“If you have any requests, keep them to yourselves. We don’t play requests!” -Buddy Rich
Making people happy is not painting whatever they want, or following existing trends which have already proven to be successful. That, in my opinion, is not creativity. However, when an artist trusts their own voice, they have the ability to use that voice to continually grow. When one embraces that doing their personal work brings joy (or whatever feeling you're going after) to others, there is a reciprocity to creativity that has the potential to be channeled into commerce.
When Buddy Rich did his wild accelerations, he was being what he had been his entire life - a force of nature, and that signature style became the trademark of his prolific recording and performance life as an artist. He was introduced to art from an early age, embraced that which brought both he AND others joy, and made it into a living.