You barely have money for rent AND food. You don’t own a car because it’s too expensive. You live with your girlfriend/boyfriend who, at one time, adored you for your talent, but is starting to get over it. You haven’t bought any new clothing (thrift store doesn’t count – and neither does socks and tee-shirts) in over a year. And even more embarrassing, you have recycled the limited wardrobe you DO have enough times to beat the band. You survive off staple crops (usually of the dried persuasion) and tell yourself that, by enduring all of the above, you are preparing yourself for unimaginable success. And you are. You also, are an artist (or a graduate student).
We trade our most prized possessions to create. Sacrifice our comforts and relationships. Deny ourselves the very things that society tells us we need to be complete, normal, and/or responsible. And this is why most people think we are crazy. It is difficult to understand why anyone would go through so much uncertainty in life, in order to paint, write songs, act on stage, or dance. Who would WILLINGLY starve to achieve something that will feel as if the world was a better place from doing so? I mean, they (the observers) DID say they liked it, right? Points for Gandhi.
All I can say is that the “starving” aspect of artistry is a prerequisite, a weed out, even. It separates the purist from the hobbyist. There are plenty of people that can install tile, but few who get the designation of a tradesman. Our “starving” teaches us resourcefulness, fosters attention to detail, hones our social skills, and increases our ability to create with very little at our disposal. The “starving” keeps us honest and ensures that we are being true to ourselves, and truly loving what we do. It also shows us who, and where, our true support systems are located.
And when it comes to Loving something/one, I think Gladys Knight and The Pips sang it best in the song, Midnight Train to Georgia: “I’d rather live in his world, than live without him, in mine.” And for the record, whoever truly loves you, will only encourage you to keep going at it. In fact, your struggle and fortitude will ENDEAR them to you even more. Anything less and it drains your spirit (read: art).
And what’s beautiful is that, no matter what, you won’t be alone. Ever. You are an artist, and bees are attracted to the most beautiful flowers. Keep blooming.
- Nik Ridley