Saturday, July 30, 2016

On Being An Artist

The first biggie is that being an artist is easy.  If that were so then everyone would be doing it, or at least continuing once they try it out.  Even most art school students are no longer producing art about three years after graduation.  When I look at all the great art being produced today around the world it does actually look as if everyone is doing it, but the truth is there is more education to make it possible for many to learn how to fulfill their need to create and information out there to help all work their way through the fears as it turns out being an artist is not easy at all!

While I believe everyone is born with creativity pulsing through their veins and that most humans have or feel the need to make things of one sort or another, this type of creativity occurs in every field.  For serious artists, simply put, there is a driven need to create art. Kimon Nicolaides said, "You cannot govern the creative impulse; all you can do is to eliminate obstacles and smooth the way for it." When not making art we're thinking, dreaming, obsessing about it.  I did that for about fifteen years when I gave up producing art to go to graduate school and develop careers for my day job, but a day didn't go by when I didn't wake up or think about art throughout the day.  I managed to incorporate it into my jobs occasionally creating some art on the computer, but that wasn't sufficient for me since I love the tactile and olfactory natures of painting.

But, the actual act of coming up with an idea and being compelled to turn it into reality is not easy in any field.  It is the act of creating something out of nothing.  Turning the ethereal into something tangible.  Taking something in your head and putting it out into the world for others to enjoy or use. It is often a struggle, but that's where the 'driven need to create art' comes in for artists.  Manet once said that "90% of painting is without a brush in your hand."  Chuck Close adds "The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration.  Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.  If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work."

I don't recall the artist who said "if I didn't paint, what else would I do?" or as Edward Hopper said, "If I could say it in words, there would be no need to paint."