Sometimes I feel that this best describes my state of mind: “I’m in a love/hate relationship with myself”
An artist is one who pours their entire heart and soul into the work they do. This does come at a cost. Surely you’ve heard it said that artists seem moody and hard to predict at times. This is true for a lot of artists, writers, etc. I’ve read of studies that showed that during the act of creation the artist brain actually uses up ( burns up ) it’s supply of happy chemicals ( endorphins, serotonin or something like that) This can actually bring the artist down into a low pit of despair following a period of heavy creative activity.
You may claim that this is no different than any other work but I assure you it is not quite the same since I have done and do other types of work.
I spent a good many of my years as a laborer, painter ( houses and boats) and floor maintenance man as well as 7 and half years in the retail industry. In all of these jobs I gave my best and went the extra mile and yet the burn-out is not quite the same. When your job was done it was done and you got paid for it. Sure it was always nice to get compliments or kudos however it doesn’t come with the exact same personal price tag as creative work. ( Yes i know that all jobs can be done creatively although creative work is different , not intrinsically better- just different. Another post perhaps?)
Recently I was told of a young man who had shown his art work which I heard was very good. He had displayed his work for an entire month in a busy cafe and yet he did not sell one item. He was noticeably disheartened.
This is because art is personal.
Every time someone shows their work they are opening up their very souls to a stranger. This is tough, especially at first for most. When a brave stand is made by the artist and there is no feedback, no reciprocity it becomes a life of unrequited love. Unrequited love is depressing. Just ask Charlie Brown. I believe he said something like , “Nothing takes the taste ( flavour) out of peanut butter like unrequited love…”
There are days and years that I too would like to throw in the towel. During those times I love the creative side of myself but also hate it as well when it seems like a great effort in courtship reveals little response.
The joy of creating is what keeps one going at times.
Yet the drive and hope and excitement of the possibilities of creating that one masterpiece or object of desire is what keeps one going. Some small thing ignites a passion inside like the swift strike of a match ( made in heaven) and we bear our naked souls one more time. To all the artists out there no matter what station you are in- whether you’re carrying a bundle of art in or out of that venue- I salute you! Good for you! Pick yourself up one more time. Dust off that pastel dust, stand straight and walk proudly…this is your time. Use it.