Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison

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The Brave Artist

Why are artists brave? As an adjective, brave means “ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage”. Danger? Pain? Is this part of being an artist? It is just making pretty stuff, right? OK, I am being silly now, but I want to make a point. Artists are against a lot of challenges when they pursue their artistic paths. There is danger of sorts, and definitely pain. Courage is required at every turn.

There are too many tales of acclaimed artists leading destitute lives, and then being recognized after their passing. Talent is not enough to “succeed” as an artist. I believe that success requires a kind of bravery, a fortitude of spirit that pushes through the intellectual, emotional, interpersonal, and physical boundaries. The path of the artist has lots of steps. There are very few overnight or instantaneous artistic successes. The challenges to the a typical artist, and roughly chronological order, can be envisioned as:

* Commitment of (scarce) resources to the artistic pursuit
* Fear of non-acceptance or actual lack of acceptance from those close to you
* Putting yourself and your abilities / wares in front of the publications
* Judging yourself against peers
* Facing (negative) feedback from the public
* Learning your craft and growing while making mistakes
* Staying the path when things get tough

Many of these are visited multiple times during an artist's career. How are they overcome? How can an artist be brave, find their courage, and overcome these challenges? I can't claim to have all the answers to that questions, but I can offer suggestions. I believe that a lot of small efforts contribute to a single brave front. The brave artist can apply themselves to one or more of these efforts:

* Have a vision and follow that vision
* Do what you can with what you've got
* Listen to positive feedback and put aside non-constructive negative feedback
* Treat failures as learning experiences
* Put yourself in uncomfortable, challenging situations
* Practice, practice, practice
* Network, network, network
* Know that others struggle too, and are being just as brave
* And #1: Believe in yourself when others do not

The outcome? An artist that moves more forward than backwards. Their courage makes the effort look easy, and somedays it may be, but every artist must face their personal danger and pain, and the prevail.
Tags: artist

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