There is nothing easy about being an artist. Maybe, there is nothing easy about being anything but I can speak only as an artist. There are a lot of us creative types in the world. This is a good thing. There are a lot of creative types who are trying to make a living as artists, musicians, actors, writers, etc. This is also a good thing. For those of us in the latter category, we face a pretty steep climb. We are in a market that is flooded. We are creating works that are subjective. Many of us, myself included, are putting out a product that is a heart on a sleave. We make ourselves vulnerable with every piece of work created.
When I made the decision 9 years ago to make a go at being a full-time artist I was full of misguided optimism. I thought I would paint pretty pictures and people would buy them and success (as I defined it) would come swftly. How pathetically naive and arrogant I was! I had the support of many but I had no defined voice, no following, and no real sense of direction. This was my first great humbling in the art world (there have been many since!).
Since those first months of following the call to be fully creative, there have been many ups and many downs. I have come close to tossing in the towel as a full-time artist. I am glad not to have given into my fear and uncertainty. Everytime I have struggled or faced adversity I have worked through it and learned something. Something about myself, something about my work, something about the people around me.
In the face of all the doubts and fears I remain grateful. Grateful to an amazingly patient and supporting wife. Grateful to have the space and time to develop and grow my work. Grateful for the encouragement and comradery from/of family and friends. Grateful for the gift I've been given and the good sense to develop it. Perhaps most importantly, I am grateful for the struggle. I have learned more about myself and about those closest to me in the times of struggle. I have found an authentic voice thanks to struggle. My work has become more dynamic and sophisticated thanks to struggle.
To wrap up this first blog post of mine I invite you to think of the times in your life where you have struggled through something difficult. How did you respond to that struggle? What did you leave the struggle with? Perhaps, you came through it carrying a lot of anger and grief. Maybe, it was relief and joy. And lastly, recognize that each persons struggle is unique to them.
Thanks for reading!