I’ve been trying for weeks to write this article about ‘success’ and ‘art’. But I write. I delete. I start over. I think I’m still trying to figure it out myself. This is what I’ve come up with so far:
There is a romantic belief, that success as an artist should mean: Doing whatever the hell you want, because something inside you is compelled to do it. And if it catches on, and you get tons of glory and tons of money for it – even better. If you don’t, oh well. You gave it a shot, and you can die penniless but knowing that you were true to yourself.
For some reason money is a dirty word in the artist handbook. If your work creates money, your art is cheap. Better to die like Van Gogh than live like Jessica Simpson.
But we all want to be embraced and rewarded for our contributions in this life. Any artist will tell you the ultimate success-dream is to make a living doing what you love.
As an artist, I want to create work that I’m proud of. That is smart and honest. I want to learn from every project and as a result become better at what I do.
Monetary success to me means making a good living from my work. It means having money so that I can afford to create my own work as well as being able say no to projects. To not feel the pressure to work for money. And the money I do create will allow me a lifestyle that includes travel and adventure and providing an easier life for my family. Monetary success is a tricky one, because we can so easily become attached to it. And as a result we create from a place of what will sell, rather than what is true.
Spiritual success. This to me is the most important. This type of success means being balanced in the ebb and flow of life and realizing they are both fruitful. Listening to my gut and trusting myself as well as something bigger than myself. And the hardest part: Not being attached to any material successes I have. Because the awards and the money can come and go. But the real stuff is that wise calmness deep inside of me.
Ultimately success to me, means freedom. The freedom to create. The freedom to say no. The freedom to create the life I’ve dreamed of.