The Problem with Art
When venturing into any new project, adventure, career shift, or life change, the excitement of starting and the intimidation of what's ahead often combine to form some crazy emotions. Especially when it comes to art, our heads have this tendency to shrink in fear at the sight of blank canvas or the sheer limitless possibilities, despite the conflicting desire of our hearts to create. And maybe it's the pressure -- real or perceived -- that initiates this complexity; the need to express, the desire to make something powerful and beautiful that comes from your soul, but the fear that if you do and you put it out there, it won't be accepted or approved. It will fall flat. People will react negatively. Or worse, not at all.
Art is a vulnerable subject. It's personal. And that's why, when blended with business, it becomes so difficult to succeed. Because every response, positive or negative, to the work you put out there, feels like a reflection on you.
We become desperate to do well, desperate to "succeed," -- to have the fanbase, the line of clients requesting your work, the chatter about your latest design or product, the accolades of praise, the monetary compensation that reflects your skill and hard work. And so, we rush. We throw ourselves into the easy route, the sure bet, the popular approach that we know people will like. We put logic aside because we're afraid that if we take our time to really do it and do it right, our heart will come spilling out with it and then, what if we fail?
But passion is not meant to run a race.
And passion is personal, not comparative.
The things you love, the interests you have, the ideas you possess are yours and they deserve nurturing. The art you want to produce, the impact you want to imbed, the lifestyle you want to live-- these things deserve your respect. There are hundreds of professionals before you who have established conditions and basics and ideas that you can learn, leverage, and benefit from. To dive in with the expectation of, "I'm just going to make this and be successful" as if you're making a frozen pizza, is insulting and unfair to both art and artist.
Why Learn The Rules
Part of what I love about photography is the fact that I can bait my inner rebel. I've always had this little piece that begs to go against the grain, to push the boundaries. Artistry and entrepreneurship can allow me to run wild. But in order to feel the rush of "breaking the rules" I had to know what they were.
That doesn't mean I held back from creating until I got all the answers. My early work was a hot mess.
But I put it out there because I knew what I wanted for my big picture and part of that included dressing in a thicker skin. I saw others dive in with sheer talent and receive flocks of praise. I heard stories of huge success from people younger than me. I witnessed my own work, strategies, time, and art fall flat over and over again. But I didn't stop and I'm still not stopping.
I'm still constantly learning, digging for advice, exploring best practices and taking notes on techniques of writing, shooting, connecting with people. Why?
Because I don't want to half-ass my passion.
When you find something worth working for, time spent learning, developing, and practicing to become the best you can be at it is never wasted.
It's hard to take your time, to take the more complicated path, to create and send it out to the world for rejection, but it’s well worth it to earn the respect and knowledge the craft deserves. So for any artist starting something new:
- Dive in with vigor.
- Immerse yourself in knowledge.
- Create with abandon and then revise and create again.
The only person you can control is yourself, and the best tools at your disposal are patience, perseverance, and passion.
Dream big and don't worry how long it takes to get to the top or who else is climbing. Just start, learn, fall, and start again.