It's a well-known (and very frustrating) fact that there isn't enough support being provided for those of us who enter creative industries during the later stages of our life cycles. Think about all the programmes and opportunities for emerging creators; how many of them have you seen aimed at individuals over the age of 30? Not much right?
The lack of support implies that anyone over the age of 30 doesn't need support. Presuming that "They should all have our sh*t together by now, they should have everything covered." When we all know that this is so far removed from the reality of the situation.
Creators who transition into creative careers at a later stage, do so for many many reasons. Sometimes there may be a delay due to lack of access to necessary resources, could be a lack of financial support, or sometimes people simply change their minds and want to explore different things. Whatever the case may be, to assume that creators in older age brackets should have it all "figured out" by a certain age is woefully ignorant and dismissive of the many contributing factors and circumstances.
Ageism in creative industries can make older creators feel unwanted, devalued and less confident in their creative output, causing people to question and shrink themselves, when in actuality, there are many benefits to stepping into creative fields in older age-brackets. Some of the benefits include:
Drawing from experiences
Firstly, older artists and designers have a wealth of life experience to draw upon. This isn't to discredit the bountiful life experiences of younger creators as this isn't a peeing contest, but as time progresses and the years go on, the more experiences you have to expand upon. This experience can be invaluable when it comes to creating meaningful and impactful work. This expansion can inform creative output in profound ways. When it comes to adding details and making your work more relatable, life experience is invaluable. This can also bring about a rich sense of history and cultural understanding.
Build-up of Transferrable Skills
Older artists and designers have often honed their skills over many years of practice. They have had time to develop their techniques, experiment with different styles and mediums, and build a portfolio of work that reflects their talents and interests. This expertise can translate into a level of mastery that is difficult for younger artists and designers to achieve. Even if previous years have been spent working in unrelated fields, there are still many transferable skills added to your artillery, many of which can strengthen the foundation and growth of your new-found creative careers.
Being an artist or designer at an older age can provide a sense of legacy and contribution. Many older artists and designers are able to reflect on their careers and see the impact they have had on their communities, whether it is through public art installations, design projects that have improved the lives of others, or simply the joy that their work has brought to those who have experienced it.
The creative industries have often been associated with youth and innovation, and this can lead to ageism and discrimination against older creators. However, existing as an older creator in these industries can bring a unique perspective and experience that can be invaluable to the creative process.