After seeing artists like Kanye West and Virgil Abloh, as well as pioneers like Steve Jobs, change the modern culture in a vast array of fields – such as music, technology, clothing, art, and architecture – are we seeing the 21st Century Renaissance?
The Renaissance was a period of time in Europe – from the 14th Century to the 17th Century, which is considered the rebirth of art, culture, philosophy, music, and architecture.
Renaissance is literally French for ‘rebirth’.
This fervent period of time in history followed the dark ages – a period of time between 476 A.D and the 14th Century, where life in Europe was plagued by the black death. There were little advances in art, science, technology. Life was short and miserable for the average person.
This ugly period of time which lasted for around one thousand years – just after the Ancient Romans and Greeks, was slowly brought to an end when humanism, a movement in Italy began to take shape.
One of the core principles of humanism was that man was the center of his own universe, and we should strive to excel in education, arts, philosophy, literature, and science.
The family most famed for supporting this revolution was the Medici family, who made their wealth in the 13th Century through commerce and banking. They believed in the pursuit of beauty, truth, and wisdom and invest the equivalent of around $500 million as patronage.
They supported artists such as Leonardo da Vinci – widely considered the greatest artist of all time – and also Michelangelo and Botticelli.
How does this link to today?
Well, you see artists like Virgil Abloh and Kanye West revolutionising the fashion and music industry. You see visionaries like Steve Jobs literally reinventing culture, with the iPhone – but also working in the animation industry.
What’s interesting to me is that these figures are active in multiple different fields, and are dominating all over the board. For example, Virgil Abloh is the head of Louis Vuitton men, but also has a background in architecture and likes to DJ and was the creative director of the Watch the Throne Album. Kanye obviously has dominated the music industry but is killing it in fashion and I definitely expect to see him dominate other creative industries too.
Much like Da Vinci, who probably mastered about 20 fields, such as architecture, sculpting, painting (he created the Mona Lisa) – he even wanted to figure out how to make man fly – the new renaissance is here where we can express our creativity in infinite ways.
What’s clear to me is that we no longer have to be confined to one specific field and be locked into that. Creativity can happen across the board, and because of the internet, the gatekeepers are dissolving by the minute.
That means that if you are good enough, you will succeed – there’s less consideration for the résumé of someone, and more focus on the quality of the end product.
What’s clear to me is that the internet today has changed the way we can go about creativity – and every day people can be compensated financially for their creativity.
The long tail of the internet means that there is pretty much a market for everything. Which means that instead of it being a winner takes all market, where the labels controlled what artists got exposure, the artist has taken control of their own media, output and is free to express their own ideas.
Back in the day, it was winner takes all on attention. You were either Michael Jackson, or you were just a singer – there was no in between because there was no such thing as the long tail.
However, targeted searching means there is more diversity in taste. People are more diverse in their ideas.
You can Google whatever you want and probably find an article on it. There is such divergence in genres, that you can be pretty much genreless.
Below is a video on the long tail, if you’re unsure.
I truly believe that the internet has birthed the second renaissance – but instead of it being dependant on the Medici family, there is a lot more opportunity to be self-sufficient because of the internet.
And with the opportunity to learn pretty much ANYTHING online today – you can really master multiple skillsets and be a complete individual who can express themselves in many different ways.
So go do and learn whatever the fuck you want to! 😉
Don’t be afraid to try and learn multiple fields – you don’t have to put yourself in a box or label yourself as one thing. You can be many things and express yourself in many ways.