Mr Raymond: The Difference between an Artist and Someone Who Does Art | Tue Oct 19, 2021
This morning, I cut my hair. As I was preparing, I took a long strip of toilet paper and wrapped it around my neck before snapping my cape around it. I thought of the Honeymoon Barber Shop in Birmingham, Alabama where I used to get my hair cut as a kid.
Almost always, Mr Raymond cut my hair, and while he wasn’t the only barber, it was understood that he was the best. It was one day I was *forced to sit in Mr Smitty’s chair that I realized why the other barber seemed to never have a waiting line. This event was the beginning of my forming the following epiphany. There are two types of people in creative careers: there are Artists and there are people who do art.
For context, there are a couple of points I want to make about Artists. The first is that here I use the word Artist in the way that cool kids use the word Creative. The second is that I don’t use the word artist loosely. I’m describing the people who are sensitive to what’s going on inside of their minds, what’s going on around them, then use those things to create. These people are compelled to create, invent, and build. They have to. They’re wired that way.
When Mr Smitty finished my haircut, I looked in the mirror, and my eyes began to water from rage. Mr Smitty had completely jacked up my **edge up. The line was so crooked that it looked like he had done it with his eyes closed. Horrorible. With the way it was pushed back, the only way to fix it was to take the line back farther. Nope, I didn’t let him try to fix it. I just took the loss.
Mr Raymond and Mr Smitty were in the same age range. I don’t suspect they had a difference in skill. I think the difference was in application. Mr Raymond paid attention to the trends going on around him and adapted with the times and gave thorough, high-quality haircuts to anyone who sat in his chair. So, where am I going with this?
My point is that if you’re going to be in a creative profession, go all the way in. Or, just do something else.
*My dad didn’t want to wait out Mr Raymond’s line customers, so he told me to go to Mr Smitty’s chair. It was no big deal to my dad because he no longer had to go to elementary school.
** Edge Up is the term used to describe the shaping of the hairline with very sharp clippers or straight razor; also used as a verb as the act of shaping the hairline