Something curious happened recently. In the shift of turning myself into my own boss, turning passion into career, I found myself validating everything with a simple criteria: Is this paying? Ew. What?
This probably happens when you do start to depend solely on your craft to make a living, which is what I’ve been trying to do since I quit my day job and got a lot hungrier. Without the security of a semi-weekly paycheck, it starts to seem like everything you do falls under a) waste of time, or, b) vital. There’s a huge problem with that when you mix art, creativity, and professional, and that is, as an artist, the time spent in between actual productions, paintings, songs, series… all the accidental meetings, the sunrises, unfortunate events, books read, conversations overheard, words spoken, are completely vital to that creation. You must be alive, and you need to NEED to create, struggle is inspiring, errors are lessons, and more than once they have been accidental inspiration, and that (to me) is what keeps art a natural thing.
“In the world of the dreamer there was solitude: all the exaltations and joys came in the moment of preparation for living. They took place in solitude. But with action came anxiety, and the sense of insuperable effort made to match the dream, and with it came weariness, discouragement, and the flight into solitude again. And then in solitude, in the opium den of remembrance, the possibility of pleasure again.” –Anais Nin
“Do whatever you do intensely. The artist is the man who leaves the crowd and goes pioneering. With him there is an idea which is his life.” –Robert Henri
“Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned about doing good work. Protect your work and if you build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency. Life is like a roller coaster ride, it is never going to be perfect. It is going to have perfect moments and rough spots, but it’s all worth it” –Patti Smith
There’s never a guarantee that what you do is what someone else wants. I do believe there’s a bigger chance of being happier if you spend your life creating and offering the world what truly lives within you. We all lose ourselves in music and our bodies dance, our bones arent having a discussion with our brains on what comes next, it just happens. Lose yourself in your own wilderness and you will create something far more beautiful than anything created as a “tribute” to something we wished we belonged to.
I think that true artists are often copied by the masses today because it’s hard to be authentic these days. It’s much easier to imitate, when a part of you is telling yourself that looking the part is half the battle, but wearing crochet dresses and heart sunglasses isn’t what’s inspiring, it’s what you do with yourself, costume and all.
Be careful of treating yourself, artist, like an employee, when you become your own boss. Don’t shut off your whims, believe in your instinct.
I often have moments of crushing doubt. Lord Byron said “I deny nothing, but doubt everything.” The occasions where I find myself surrounded by like minded beautiful people, am collaborating on art, the times that I look at my little house, the flowers, take a bath and remember how I got there are some of the most life affirming moments I’ve ever felt. They’re up there with holding brand new kittens, meeting my love and drinking champagne in swimming pools during a storm. The times in between are BRUTAL reminders that everything you want, is yours to create and no one is going to wrap it in a box for you, even if it seems to be that way for everyone else.
Jealousy and Assumption are a pair of wicked friends and sometimes you slack off into a bath of self pity and let the two of them whisper bullshit in your ear.
Take walks. Look at people straight in the eye when you say “Hello.” Go for coffee and leave your phone at home. Disconnect your eyes from your interior ego and let the world feed you a much needed feast. Say yes to opportunity and figure it out along the way.
If something feels right from every fiber of your body, do it. halfway there you’ll probably meet doubt and fear, but that’s obstacles and it’s natural. Confront them and forge ahead and don’t look back. I only suggest this, because those are the only times I have felt like a successful, whole, person.
/steps off soap box….