Art is exhausting.
Let me tell you – art is exhausting.
To be an artist you need to think and feel with intense emotion and dedication and then translate your heart and soul to the average non-artist who is too preoccupied with why your art doesn’t make sense – they think about the works instead of experiencing the works.
Do you know why, so many people fantasize but never actually become artists? Because it’s damn scary that’s why! We don’t idolize cocaine fueled rockstars, famously suicidal painters or happily hedonistic hip hop artists because of their celebrity and scandalous lifestyles (at least not in the beginning); we idolize them because they have balls. They get up there and they command, not demand respect. They have presence, they have sexual charm, they have courage.
But without discipline and drive and determination (oh my!) artists can implode and ironically by being so open, so giving, so vulnerable – by being the very things they need to be in order to fulfill the sense of esteem and meaning in their lives – they lose themselves.
Artists need incredible discipline and self restraint balanced with freedom of self expression and experimentation. This is no easy task. To make things more interesting, many artists have supplementary jobs (what the non-artist would refer to as a “day job” although we artists do work, in the afternoon, mid morning, evenings and even wee morning hours as well). Attempt to do all of this mentally and emotionally fulfilling/draining work and work a full time job at the same time – it can be an energy sucker.
Quil4 has done a lovely job of having a single post every month – I’m trying to get back on the 1 post every 2 weeks band wagon. It’s not the frequency of the activity – it’s the persistence and doggedness of seeing something through.
I’ve been working on a 5 song – a 5 song EP for 2 years now – I’m almost done….so close! But the closer you get to completing it you start to wonder – what the hell am I doing?! Why has this taken so long? What is the point again? That’s when determination kicks in and the questions morph into: Why have I pushed through for so long? What compels me to continue forward? What is the next step? Artists – we need to have that discipline, that determination, that drive: whether a project takes two days, or twenty years as long as you complete it and do so with some intention – you will find success. Now granted – there is of course the little business voice in the background also saying – so….2 years eh….at some point you’ll want to see a return on your investment and possibly start generating some revenue from your works specifically in the hopes of becoming independent of your supplementary job. Well – duh – of course silly. Seeing a project through to completion also means being flexible – it’s taken me 2 years to get to where I am because I didn’t want to be sitting in a pool of debt to see my works come to life. A rational decision – balanced by the experimentation and freedom of the works themselves.
Everyone is working hard these days regardless of what they do. But if you think your artist friends are just dreaming madly into the night sky – hopefully you’ll think twice about that and possibly offer them a cupcake and some tea. Be kind to your artist friends! And Artists – be kind to yourselves! Remember – every little step helps -every blurry photo – every wrong note – every writer’s block – with every mistake, you learn – with every mistake you are moving forward.