Become a Practicing Artist
At heart, everyone's an artist. In practice, of course, this is not so. You may be surprised to learn that, despite your artistic endeavors, you are not an artist, not a practicing artist at any rate.
Art is loyalty to the spontaneity of your individuality. It's expressed through action. It may nod to conventions, but it doesn't bend to them. A practicing artist is one who structures life through the creativity of individual impulse and inclination. A homemaker who loves what he or she does is a practicing artist, so is a mechanic and a farmer if they structure their lives according to their natural feelings. Whereas, a writer or a painter may not be practicing artists even if they get paid for their work. There are plenty of professional "artists" whose inclinations lie in other areas but they're too scared to pursue those inclinations. They are engaging in creativity, to be sure, but it's not art.
You have your individuality for a reason. It's meant to guide you. A practicing artist knows this, and doesn't limit the areas in which this individuality is expressed. In illustration, you may love to stay up until the wee hours of the night and wake up late. You may have spent your entire adult life trying to rid yourself of this "bad habit." However, if you trust yourself, as a practicing artist, you'll structure your life to accommodate the fact that you love to stay up late and not try to deny your own nature. Believe it or not, you love to stay up late for a reason. A practicing artist understands that inclinations are a language meant to be spoken through action. The more one acquiesces to this living language, the greater the quality of expression.
Contrary to popular notions, if you don't repress them, your individual impulses will always breed moderation, kindness, and pleasure. They are a symbol of your individuality, and at the heart of art itself. Disregard them, and you put yourself at risk.
All people want three things: love, challenge, and freedom. Individuality constitutes the unique way in which you achieve these fundamentals. Art happens when you heed your individuality and express your true impulses and inclinations in the face of cultural norms which may or may not be supportive. A practicing artist, then, is attuned to the fine art of living whose means are limitless but whose source is constant. You are the art you produce, and your life is an extension of that art. In light of this fact, "Know thyself" was never a more important phrase.
S.C. Giles is a contributing author of The Artrepreneur E-Zine and newsletter.
The Artrepreneur offers articles helping artists focus on proven techniques to accomplish any goal. Read More: http://www.theartrepreneur.com
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