Artists need some sense of affirmation to continue making art, otherwise discouragement settles in and they are tempted to give up.
I’m an artist, I’m married to an artist and have several very close friends who are also artists. I feel like I know the artisan spirit and nature pretty well. Last week I had two very telling conversations, one with my wife about her art and how she’s currently feeling about it; the other, with a good friend and protege of mine about his current life situation – though he’s not an artist by trade, he is an artist at heart. There was a common thread in both of these conversations: discouragement and fear. It seems as though the discouragement comes from a lack of confidence and an inconsistency in artistic “wins;” and fear seems to come from getting stuck in that cycle of discouragement.
I’ve been there. I’ve been discouraged and I’ve felt the fear of sitting down at an attempt to create another piece of art. I’ve stared at a blank canvas in Photoshop, for what seems like hours – on several occasions. I’ve felt that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when there is just NOTHING left to give artistically. I’ve spoken to several creatives on several different occasions who often find themselves in the same position. Where do you think that comes from? Why do we get stuck?
I believe artists & creatives need artistic wins, they need to feel validated and affirmed. We pour our heart and soul into everything we create and when that goes unnoticed, it’s often exhausting trying to manufacture the energy it takes to move on to the next work of art. It’s not enough to create art for the sake of creating it. We want to know that what we’re doing is moving you. Personally speaking, I thrive and feed off encouragement in my art. When I hear that something I created moved someone in some way, it makes me want to create something even better… now. Whether it’s a video I directed, a stage set I contributed to, or a graphic I created: I seriously get pumped for the next project when I know that something I helped to create was a success. On the other hand, it can be miserable trying to move on to the next work of art when the last one seemed to go unappreciated or unnoticed.
As my Senior Pastor always says…”So what’s the take away?”
If you’re an artist or creative: Don’t give up! Hang in there – the wins will come.
If you work with artists or creatives: Find ways to encourage them! Let them know that what they’re doing is making a difference and that it’s moving people. Artistic wins build on each other, if you can help your artists achieve them – you will get better art and creativity out of them in the long run.