I blogged this this morning, but I’m copying it here because I think it bears thinking about and discussing. And, as you all know, I love discussion.
What is your goal with your art? Then, knowing that, are you focused on achieving that?
One of the biggest pitfalls in any artist’s career…in any career…in any life is to not have a solid idea of what you want and where you want to go…if you are goal-seeking. Not everyone in the world is a goal-seeker, though goal-seekers comprise the great majority.
And the answer? Success is the answer many give when asked. My rejoinder is, what’s your yardstick, what’s your measurement and definition of “success?” To that question, I usually get hedging because many folks are just embarrassed to say “money and fame” when that is exactly what they seek. If you want money and fame, be honest about it, at least with yourself.
Many people, however, really don’t realize that what they actually seek is approval, and approval isn’t going to come easily, regardless of how “successful” you are in terms of gaining money and fame for your work. Approval is something which mother’s hand out to their children, teachers hand out to their good pupils…or used to before it became socially impermissible to praise one child and not another, especially for merit in performance. It isn’t going to come from anyone who is jealous of your ability, nor from someone who feels as if you are competition to their own achievement potential. It certainly isn’t going to come if you don’t approve of yourself and your work.
So what’s my definition and yardstick of success? If my art pleases me, then it is successful. If it pleases someone else, well and good, but that isn’t part of my own criteria when viewing it. And when I put my artwork “out there,” I don’t really care if someone doesn’t like it, as long as I think it’s great. And you know what? Nine times out of ten, consumers agree with me in my vision. There’s a lesson there, artists. Do your art. If you like it, that’s what matters. Everything else is simply getting it “out there,” no simple thing itself, but achievable.