Throughout my entire life I have always been on the “outside looking in”. I would see people frolic happily in the moment while I was merely observing from the corner. Sure, I could interact and become a part of the scene but always in the back of my perceptive reality I was merely on a stage, performing with souls of the moments of “now”.
Whether it was because of my constant moving as a child or merely my vivid imagination or wondering mind that always kept me on the sidelines.
Eventually, as I grew in age and experience some of my talents started to show. I’m a writer (finished my first trilogy at age 8), I am a musician and songwriter and play several instruments. I can doodle (not very good but I get by) and I am drawn to all things artistic. I am an Artist.
The Life of the Artist
As an Artist, I look at life and wonder about the beauty and chaos of its existence, the emotional twist and turns of our daily routines. I observe and I replicate, I reach into the realm of creativity and mix the every day into my own soul and display it through word, song and whatever other means I can muster.
I cannot work in your average nine-to-five, it would only eat my soul, drown my creativity and ultimately leave an empty shell of the person I am, desperately grasping for moments of happiness to fill my dull existence.
This means I rely on my own abilities and talents to get by. I market my skills, I tweak it to fit a corporate paradigm, I use my creativity to fuel my finances. But sometimes it isn’t enough.
You might be comfortable, you might have the time to work on your craft, but you don’t have the financial security that everyone else has. You don’t have a clear cut path to success. In fact, what is success for an artist?
What does it mean to be successful as an artist?
When you work a normal job you get to climb a “corporate ladder”. The higher you go, the more “successful” you are. However, when it comes to art, what does success mean?
Are you successful for merely creating the art? Are you only successful when other people appreciate your art? Or are you successful when you can live off your art.
I personally think it’s a mix of them all. Art needs not only be created, but at the same time it needs to justify its existence. It needs to be appreciated by those who have no affiliation with the piece itself. Then it is art. However, it is only until the art has the ability to sustain the artist that one can claim success as an artist.
This doesn’t mean you are not an artist. It only means you haven’t experienced the full spectrum of what it means to be an artist.
In my case, I have had some…but not enough. There is always further one could push, always more one could do. To think that you are ever “successful” as an artist would allow yourself to think you have “made it” and by default won’t work at the same tenacity as when you “hadn’t made it”.
My success is measured on volume and quality. If before I die, I can create a body of work that reflects my interpretation of this world, at least from one perspective, I would call it a successful venture. I will only know whether I was successful the moment before I die.
What about now?
On your walk to success as an artist you need to learn how to wear many hats. You don’t have the luxury to entirely depend on your art – yet. So find something that stimulates you, helps you achieve your artistic goals but above all, keep on producing the best work you can. Find ways to get it out to the public. There is always someone willing to listen as long as there is something of substance.
Nevertheless the strains of everyday life, the proverbial rat race before the victory can get the artist feeling blue every now and then. In those cases, take a break, talk with a friend, drink a beer, smoke a bowl and do what you can to distract yourself from the moment, event if it is brief in nature. Let go of your frustrations, let go of your worries and just enjoy life. After all, that’s why we’re here.
On my personal venture, I am pushing harder than ever before. Working on multiple aspects of my art because my success will only be measured after I have produced all I could throughout my life. But this doesn’t mean that I cannot monetize them in the meanwhile. Therefore I push, harder and further, fighting my own procrastination and self-sabotaging demons.
I am building on my artistic foundations, because this is who I am, this is what I do. I have no alternative walk in life…I can only be the best me that I can be which leaves me to think…
Am I the Best that I can be Now?
I think this is a question we must continually ask ourselves throughout the rest of our lives.