2016 has so far been shadowed by the deaths of some incredible talent and unforgettable icons, most notably Bowie and Prince. Their deaths, within quick succession of one another, left many of us devastated. We were calling in sick so we could stay at home and wipe the dust off old vinyl as tears ran down our cheeks. But we also celebrated the impact, influences and legacies these musicians left with us. They were true originals. Sharing not only musical genius, but a flair for inventing alter-ego, a device to make creative points and challenge conventions.
Bowie had Ziggy, Major Tom, The Thin White Duke. Prince had Symbol (although instigated by record company disagreements) and Camille. Alter-egos can be a way of leaving inhibitions aside to make way for the truly inventive. These outlets for creative self-expression became worker bees for Bowie and Prince, resulting in a prolific amount of music.
Channel the muse through your alter-ego
By traditional definition, an alter-ego is a separate entity. A distinct and separate self from one’s personality. This creates a safe space between the person and their alter-ego, and in this space it is possible for creative anarchy to be unleashed.
Creativity can be stifled when we try to contain it, and self-doubt – the deadly disease of any great idea – can begin to creep in. An alter-ego can help channel creative genius, having been gloriously unshackled from the restraints of being “normal”. An alien does not have to adhere by the same rules as we do, right, Ziggy?
Your alter-ego can serve as antennae to receive what Elizabeth Gilbert calls “Your elusive creative genius”. She believes genius isn’t something we have; it doesn’t reside in us but rather is a gift, borrowed or blessed upon us for a short while, but only if the channels to receive it are open.
If the muse hasn’t been talking to you lately, maybe it’s time to put on some sparkly pants, go crazy with some eye pencils, a can of hairspray and call yourself by another name? Don’t forget to keep your receipts as alter-egos can be tax deductible…actually I made that bit up! Best speak to your WardWilliams Creative accountant in London before you blow the company budget on body glitter.
Get out of your comfort zone…reinvent your packaging
An alter ego may be a way for you to step out of your comfort zone when you are faced with doubt, fear, or new challenges. Perhaps you are thinking of adding a video to your marketing campaign but you don’t feel comfortable being on camera. Accessing your alter-ego can help you tap into your confidence and find that performer inside. Even Beyoncé created Sasha Fierce for this very reason.
A well-crafted alter-ego can be your starting point for bridging the gap between who you are and the possibilities of who you could be. It can provide a transgressive space that allow us to break-through the packaging we’ve created for ourselves. Rather helpfully, Wikihow have put together this simple guide; “How to Create an Alter Ego”.’
Next time you find yourself doubting your new idea, ask yourself, what would Bowie do?
What would Prince do?
What would Ziggy do?