When it comes to art, what is worth fighting for? Is it better talent or the desire to make art… or both?
I believe that everyone has a huge creative potential but does that also mean everyone can create art? Does everyone have the right to make art?
Should everyone be given equal opportunity to attend art school or have their works displayed in museums or art galleries?
Anyone is free to pursue art both as a career or a hobby and for whatever purpose it may serve them best. Some people make art to address social and political issues. Some artists make art that intentionally stoke religious hatred (see artist and photographer Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ).
Artists are even free to choose the medium in which to express their creativity. Some artists make art from dead animals (ethically) and even excrement. Many artists have created artworks from real animal poop, not just create art that looks like poop. In fact, Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary, which depicts the Virgin Mary and was sold for a whopping $4.6 million in 2015, was made from a lump of dried, varnished elephant poop. Talk about creativity.
But what matters in art? Being a genius or being creative enough in your own way?
Throughout my career, I have spoken with many people who showed great promise… people who would have been great artists if they had not given up early. Though they had the creativity, they lack the resiliency, the patience to survive in an overcrowded and highly competitive industry.
Indeed, aspiring artists are not taught how to sell and survive in art school. We are only taught to create, to realize our imagination… but not to develop a survival mindset. We are taught to embrace our creativity but not to hold on to our creativity during a personal crisis or to survive as a creative during a financial crisis.
In this aspect, talent alone will not be enough. An artist must also develop a positive mental attitude, which plays a huge role in sustaining their drive to create art. Their creativity must highlight their positivity.
The matter of positive mental attitude brings us artists to talk about progress.
There are not a few artists who have given up after seeing little or no progress in their career. (It is indeed difficult to advance in the art world but again, a survival mindset, complemented by initiative and ability, is key.) There are not a few would-be artists who have given up art after seeing little or no progress in their skills.
I myself have seen many people, especially the most artistic types, feel pretty bad about themselves. They get hard on themselves when they do not see the progress they want. They mentally beat themselves up that they give up not only art but their creativity as well.
As an artist, this I have got to say: Even if you do not see any progress despite practicing a lot, it does not mean you do not have the talent necessary to be an artist.
Maybe you have not found your style yet. Maybe you just need more time to build yourself up and increase your self-worth. Perhaps you need to develop the attitude, the mindset to see the progress you desire.
I would like to think that some people are not made for art or that they are not built for a professional art career. It takes time for people to determine whether art is their calling.
Some people do have an inherent talent for art than others. If they believe they have, they are able to create anything. They may not have to work hard to create a nice painting, get positive feedback, nor have their works displayed in museums. But as what I have said before, talent will not be enough.
Desire matter too, whether you would pursue art as a career or practice it as a hobby. It is desire, along with the application, that keeps one’s talent relevant. It is desire that judges one’s worthiness to possess a particular talent. Desire, combined with resiliency, persistence, faith in one’s capabilities, and the will to survive, makes a successful artist.
If you believe you have the talent to make art, you would have the desire to make art. You would actively pursue ideas rather than wait for creative thoughts come to you. Everyone can have talent but not everyone has the desire. That said, the desire to create art is worth fighting for.