So this is something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately–mainly because I have been talking to so many people about what it means to be a working artist and how we can convey what goes in vs. what comes out in our work, our marketing and our conversations.
First and foremost–I’m going to burst a lot of people’s bubbles here, but being a working artist is a lot like being a working anything else–it takes work. A lot of work. And it’s not always glamorous or fun or even all that fulfilling. Sometimes, it’s just work.
And that’s ok–I think that’s how it should be, frankly. I am a huge believer in doing what’s necessary and hard upfront to reap the fruits of your labor later–basically I”m a glutton for punishment so long as that punishment is happening right now, in front of me (c:
Secondly, however, being a working artist is also fundamentally different from being a working anything else–mainly because in most situations you have someone that you answer to (whether that’s a boss or your accountant or your PR person) whereas a lot of the time, we just have ourselves. We are every department and we have to keep ourselves accountable and stay sane at the same time. I certainly don’t mean to make this some sort of “tragic artists” story but I feel it’s important to stress that “being an artist” is one of the few professions where you are also “everyone else”. It’s similar to trying to run a start-up company except that unlike all good business models, “being an artist” doesn’t have an exit strategy penned in–most of us intend to be doing this in some form or another until we are six feet under. And, if we’re really talented, or if history teaches us anything, we’ll continue to be accountable for the quality and quantity of what we produced long after that.
While it can initially seem really overwhelming and like I’m doomed to live a life of angst over this idea that I want to create/make things that try and be more than just craft or “stuff” (dare I say, art?), as we get ready to bring in the New Year, I realize it doesn’t actually have to be that way.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”-Rumi
While I can’t necessarily say that I’ve landed exactly on what I truly love but I can tell you that I am really over all the worrying about whether or not I’ve landed on what I truly love.
Ever since we got back from our great European adventure, I’ve had a motto of “Burn Should” running through my head. Stop talking about all the things you should do and pick a thing and do it. Yoda was right, man. And, if you can’t burn the should (and just get it done) then just take it off the list. It can come back at a later time but it’s time to drop the intractable problems and just make stuff!
Anyway–so far, things are going well and I’m excited for them to continue going well as I gear up for 2016 and all of the exciting, “big leap” stuff I’m preparing for.
Happy Arting. (c;