I often wonder why I speak out, why I paint, why I write, sometimes, why I even bother waking up in the morning. It seems at times that nobody cares. I realize my blogs often disappear into the ether, sometimes completely unread, that what I’m burning to say means nothing to anyone but me, that sometimes months pass between the selling of a painting or even the hearing of a kind word. I do everything right and yet sometimes it seems life is totally unfair, that my life’s work will mean nothing when I die.
But I do it anyway.
Why? Because it gives me pleasure to create and be productive, and I know the light of God is shining on me no matter what I or anyone says or does. I know in my heart that no one or nothing can ever take that away from me because my soul is eternal and so even, is my art.
On a more down to Earth note, frankly, there’s simply too much competition to expect to make a living from the sale of art anymore. There is a lot of noise too, a lot of hubris. Hustlers have crashed the game, using state of the art marketing tricks which have rigged the game even more, with hubris and a better attitude for selling.
But there is also just a lot more of everything as the population has increased exponentially. More people are standing up and saying, “I am a creative being; I am going to fulfill my lifelong dream to be an artist.” I don’t have any statistics on this but I really think there is now a higher proportion of artists to collectors than at any time in history, which is great, don’t get me wrong. I’ve always said, “everyone should be an artist.” But to stand out now is like playing the lottery. With everyone enjoying their right to expect their own celebrity, nobody does. Everyone is going viral. It’s an epidemic. Disappearing is the the new standing out. The American Dream is alive and well and we are saturated with genius everywhere we turn. It’s hard to remember a time when I felt like I was exceptional, which is probably as it should be. That’s an important lesson to learn: what makes me special is something deeper than material success. The truth is we are all part of a much larger whole than any of us can imagine. That we live in a culture of exceptionalism, however, can be a problem, but only if we let it.
With each poem and painting and every generation of new artists, however, permission is given. My individual success becomes less important. And we celebrate as a community, our collective accomplishments.
Note: I hope this doesn’t come off as a downer to anyone who has plans to become a star, in the material sense. If that is important to you, please give it all you’ve got!