“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without the work” – Oscar Wilde
Not an easy decision…
Deciding on a career path is one of the more difficult, pivotal decisions one can make in their lives, and deciding to pursue the arts for a living can be a very stressful endeavor. Afterall, you still have to be ready to deal with the daily hassles of being ‘in business’ for yourself and be able to wear many hats: the marketer, the strategist, the salesperson, the logistics person, bookkeeper, so on and so forth.
I’ve mentored and been involved in business ventures with many artists from various industries over the years and have gained some unique insights into their journeys. I often find it to be a very beautiful, bittersweet tradeoff. In the short-term, it’s basically a sacrifice of financial security for creative passion. In the long-term, there are no assurances of success or financial prosperity either.
The artist possess something which many of us never get to realize in our lifetime – a true identity. Artists know what makes them fulfilled. When they are immersed in their art and vibing with the creative process that’s aligned with their unique skillset, they’re experiencing a frequency of life that many of their non-artistic counterparts only wish they could. Think of all the people who are droning through this life and never discover their true talent potential. Our society is filled with those who lack passion because of career misery. How many of us can truly say we feel in tune with the world and in tune with ourselves?
Art dictates culture. Art inspires progress and change. Art heals wounded spirits and mends broken hearts. Art gives solice to those who need it the most. Art is essential to life and the cohesiveness of society.
So if you possess an artistic talent and adapt that same creativity to a unique vision for yourself of how you can break through, then combine that mindset with effort, discipline, and perseverance, you may find yourself traversing your own path to success and financial independence. You’ll likely find the terrain to be smoother and brighter as you continue the journey.
I’ve witnessed it myself; singer-songwriters, theater actresses, poets, actors, dancers, magicians, painters, and comics make it to a point where they are making a salary off of their passion and are content. I’ve also seen the far more often alternative – the artist gives it all that they possibly could and sacrifices all that they possibly can and they simply don’t make it – they fail.
Is it a worthy journey either way?…
Can we really call it a “failure” if the artist lived a life of passion? They created, they endured, and they left a positive, powerful impact on others with their craft in the process.
Being a talented artist can be a beautiful curse, or a magnificent culture-altering success. There is no clear-cut answer – no one knows what can be achieved when one gives their full, honest effort to their artistic ambitions and the route to success is unlike other industries. In most instances, there is no gradual ladder to climb; some put in the gritty work and catch a break and experience an exponential rise while others keep at it until there’s nothing left to grind and they’re forced to choose other career paths.
If you don’t try you’ll never know, and if you do try you may wish you never had. Either way, we should have great respect and admiration for those who decide to embark on the courageous artistic pursuit.
***This article was inspired by the many artists I’m humbled to call friends who have experienced success in recent years and to all those who are putting in the gritty work every single day to make their dreams a reality. I feed off of your energy and without this supply of motivation, I would not have the courage to pursue my own path as an entrepreneur.***