The dying myth of the creative weirdo who works alone

The voluntary isolation of the creative artist is a concept so firmly embedded in our minds – even if not without reason – that it may seem impossible to find an alternative truth.

  • Can you find a niche of peace in a bustling city of millions?
  • Didn’t Terence Malick hibernate for 20 years?
  • Do you, right now, know what Stanley Kubrick looks like?

So we have salvaged 3 pictures from the ruins of time to pay homage to the isolationism of the perfect creative artist.

Here’s Steven Spielberg shooting a film completely alone:


Look at Hans Zimmer composing the soundtrack of Interstellar. The lone ranger.


Here’s the writer that made Game of Thrones the cult it is today.


The image of the solitary creative isn’t irrelevant, but it isn’t as if all creative professionals want or can afford the preferred retreat from the madding crowds and their cacophonous ways. There happens to be another side of the matter, one that shows how collaboration is central to creation.

That other side is life, the sight of Sunday revelers in the local park and the sight of Sunday mourners at a funeral. Creative professionals are tasked with holding a mirror to society, and that requires plunging head first into the ways people interact. During office meetings, outdoor projects, kitchen sink discussions.

And that’s what is happening: creatives all over the world are working together to bring us what will someday be known as masterpieces of advertising, filmmaking, fashion design, you name it.

If creativity slips into a cozy corner free of disturbing human influences, humans will slip into a cozier corner free of creative influences. The risk is not worth taking.

Roshan Shetty
Roshan Shetty