Too often, artists begin to perceive their work as a product of their own intellect. We forget that the mind is the great deceiver. That creativity is, in fact, a gift entrusted to the artist.
Suddenly and inevitably, the work becomes more about ego and less about art itself. This is the most common pitfall for artists. Our work suffers.
If it goes on too long unchecked, the artist transforms into the ego maniac. Which is, of course, the greatest tragedy in art. Our world suffers.
I’ve never understood when artists are greedy, and yet I meet so many who are. It’s ironic since essentially artists are in the business of sharing- their talents, struggles, joys, and journeys. But if the main motivation behind sharing your talent is because you expect money in return, then your passion is money, not music. And you’re in the wrong business. I strongly believe that as artists, we’re given gifts and it’s our duty to share them, even if that means holding three jobs down to be able to do so. In the end, you have to know and believe that your gift alone is a treasure worth far more than any amount of money. And to whom much is given, much is expected…
Have you ever noticed how inspiration often comes at the most inopportune times?
When a million other things are vying for our attention. Or when we’re right in the middle of something else. Like a shower. Or a run. Or when we’re simply not in the mood to write. Because we’re tired. Or hungry.
Have you ever had a brilliant idea come to you out of nowhere? A sudden flash of insight that you promise to write down later.
But when later comes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t recall what is you were supposed to write down. Maybe you remember the general idea, but the words are no longer fully formed, waiting to flow effortlessly from mind to paper. The inspiration is no longer a sudden flash, but rather a struggle to be grasped. And it’s brilliance is lost.
I think inspiration is purposefully inconvenient.
Because, you see, inspiration is ultimately a gift that wants to be shared. It’s constantly searching for the right receiver.
Inspiration demands attention. And it determines who’s rightfully worthy of it by arriving at the wrong time.
If we’re not willing to put time on hold, stop what we’re doing and fully receive the inspiration in the exact moment it arrives, then like a butterfly, inspiration simply flutters off to find another mind somewhere else. It wants to be with a person who recognizes its worth.
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams
A good work of art, even a great one, speaks to people of a certain time.
However, a work of genius transcends temporal bounds. It is continuously rediscovered anew by successive generations. In other words, a work of genius isn’t static. It bends (and is bent by) each new audience that encounters it.
For example, the art of the Greeks and the Egyptians, is not art of the past. One could even argue that it is more alive today than ever before. As Pablo Picasso once said, “There is no past or future in art. If a work of art cannot live always in the present, it must not be considered art at all.”
Works of genius live in the now.
“Art always consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.” G.K. Chesterton.
Embrace your limitations.
“In the artist of all kinds I think one can detect an inherent dilemma, which belongs to the co-existence of two trends, the urgent need to communicate and the still more urgent need not to be found….”
― Don Richard Riso, Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
When we’re young, the world is our oyster.
Hurt and humiliation are two things we don’t fear.
Imagination is our kingdom and every moment counts.
Ah yes, when we’re young, creativity abounds.
As we grow up they say, “Fall in line!
Get good grades! Be on time!
Find a job! Pay your bills!”
All things that stifle creative wills.
When we’re young, our sense of presence lasts.
There’s no anxiety about the future. No dwelling in the past.
It’s this innate presence that lets our creative juices flow
but we block it and build dams around it every year we grow.
Now I can hear the sound, traveling through your eyes
of broken dreams and emptiness
as your inner child cries,
“Gimme ink and paper, crayons, brushes, and blank space.
Gimme songs to sing and lightening bugs to chase.
Gimme wood to carve, clay to mold, and games to play.
I’m jumpy and I’m restless. Can I come out today?”