Dude this is awesome. Really love it. I find the discussion or art vs. design fascinating, and this is a really well balanced take on it.
In my own design work, as most designer do, I struggle at times with feeling like what I produce is too status quo. There’s always the itch to make something more unique. You’ve rightly pointed out why that alone is not a good reason, because it only makes sense if that creative flair also adds more value to the design. And we follow established design patterns for a reason: they are already proven to work and familiar with users. You’ve definitely hit the sweet spot as a designer when you feel the freedom to be really creative, AND those innovative concepts are adding (not subtracting) value to the design solution.
I also really appreciated your point about how sites like Dribbble and Behance are mostly featuring art, not design. I touched on many of those thoughts here, and then again here. Places like Dribbble offer a unique place for inspiration, but in so many ways the superficial popularity contest they’ve become is doing more damage to design than good. When people start designing for views and likes instead of solving real problems, you know something has really gone wrong.