You are talented and creative. You rarely block, and when you do block you know how to move yourself along. Your moods are not incapacitating and you haven’t stepped over into madness. Your personality is sufficiently integrated that your necessary arrogance doesn’t prevent you from having successful relationships, your nonconformity hasn’t made you a pariah, and your skepticism hasn’t bred in you a nihilistic darkness. You work happily in isolation but can also move into the world and have a life. You have, in short, met the challenges posed so far.
Are you home free? Unfortunately not. The next challenges you face are as great as any posed so far. They are the multiple challenges of doing the business of art: making money, developing a career, acknowledging and making the most of your limited opportunities, living with compromise, dealing with mass taste and commercialism, negotiating the marketplace, and making personal sense of the mechanics and metaphysics of the business environment of art.
Many artists grow bitter in this difficult arena. Many an artist flounders. Only the rare artist sits himself down to examine these matters, for they are painful to consider. But you have no choice but to examine them. If you are an artist, you want an audience. And if you want an audience, you must do business.
Comments are welcome!
Eric Maisel in A Life in the Arts
I am vitally interested in the man who today has the misfortune of being an artist and a human being. By the same token I am as much interested in the maneuvers of the gangster as I am in those of the financier or the military man. They are all part and parcel of society; some are lauded for their efforts, some reviled, some persecuted and hunted like beasts. In our society the artist is not encouraged, not lauded, not rewarded, unless he makes use of a weapon more powerful than those employed by his adversaries. Such a weapon is not to be found in shops or arsenals: it has to be forged by the artist himself out of his own tissue. When he releases it he also destroys himself. It is the only method he has found to preserve his own kind. From the outset his life is mortgaged. He is a martyr whether he chooses to be or not. He no longer seeks to generate warmth, he seeks for a virus with which society must allow itself to be injected or perish. It does not matter whether he preaches love or hate, freedom or slavery; he must create room to be heard, ears that will hear. He must create, by the sacrifice of his own being, the awareness of a value and a dignity which the word human once connoted. This is not the time to analyze and criticize works of art. This is not the time to see the flowers of genius, differentiate between them, label and categorize. This is the time to accept what is offered and be thankful that something other than mass intolerance, mass suicide, can preoccupy the human intellect.
Henry Miller in Stand Still Like the Hummingbird
Comments are welcome!