Anything But An Artist

I’ve never felt inclined to do anything I’m “supposed” to do. “Supposed to” meaning  it’s not coming from me, but from somewhere or someone else.

I believe a lot of Artists fall into this trap. I’m a painter, I’m “supposed” to paint. I’m an actor, I’m “supposed” to try to get casted. I’m a musician, I’m “supposed” to eat, sleep, and breathe music.

The problem is one of over-identification. We stop knowing when our painting, acting, and music-ing is coming from a deep, true place inside of us, and when it is coming from what we believe is expected of us.

If you’re reading this and you’re someone who’s never felt that your Art was not naturally emerging from a place deep within yourself, unaffected by all external forces, then feel free to ignore this entry. I can’t pretend to know anything about you or your creative process.

I’ve always, and still do, rebelled against any notion that all Artists are these unstoppable forces who hold some kind of impenetrable compass that never fails to guide them in the direction of their creative star. If you’re stuck, you must be lazy. If you’re not producing, you’re not productive. If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, you’re misguided and you need a reality check.

If I’m going to write, or play, or create anything at all, I’ll do it because it damn well pleases me. I’ll do it because there’s nothing I’d rather do. I’ll do it because I’m compelled. Call me lazy, call me nonproductive, call me a poser. Go ahead, call me anything but an Artist.

Do it, why? Because I’m supposed to? No, thank you.

The Impossibility Of Being A Modern Artist

Over the past week, I’ve had a lot of time to think. One of the things I’ve thought about is the multitude of responsibilities we artists are required to take on, especially in this day and age of online platforms, personal relationships, and sustaining our business and personal lives through our brand and, of course, our output.

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ll probably have noticed that this is a pretty hot topic for me. A lot of my posts focus on the sheer volumes of, well, stuff, that is required from us in order to not only make ourselves heard, but to build a life doing so. I’d like to go ahead and put out there that this more than just a topic for me, this is a big part of my philosophy. It’s a Theme.

Whether or not you see eye to eye with my opinions, we can all agree that a lot is expected from the modern artist. From mailing lists to milage logs, everything we do as independent artists, musicians, poets, or comic book writers, plays a part in how successful we will be in an elaborate, holistic Tetris puzzle. I don’t think it’s enough to say it’s hard – damned impossible would be more accurate.

But yet, we still somehow manage. We still do it, for the most part. Any normal creative person as had thoughts of “giving up,” of “maybe I’m just not good enough,” or just plain being not sure of him or herself. But we can’t stop, not matter how much we may want to at times, or no matter how many hiatuses (hiati?) we may go through.

It’s in our nature to create. It’s in our nature to press on, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It’s in our nature to do the impossible.

When do you feel yourself pushing through what seems (and very well may be) impossible?


Image source: Tetris HD Wallpapers