Updated: Nov 17
The journey of an artist is a complex and multifaceted one, deeply intertwined with personal attributes and societal influences. Art is truth. And pursuing that truth takes it toll. How do we do that? How we thrive on our artistic journey?
Let's explore this journey through the lens of five key elements: commitment, curiosity, wonder, boundaries, and health, garnished with insights from renowned artists.
1. The Art of Commitment
Commitment in art is akin to a sacred pledge, a relentless pursuit of a vision that often defies norms. Henri Matisse, a leading figure of modern art, once said, "Creativity takes courage." This courage is a testament to the commitment required to not only begin a piece but to persevere through the challenges and doubts. Georgia O’Keeffe, another stalwart, echoed this sentiment, stating, "I have been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I have never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do." Her words encapsulate the essence of commitment in art - a relentless drive to create despite fear or uncertainty.
We're not suggesting you create in fear, but rather facing your fears and using them in your art, whatever media you're working in, helps process the fears and grounds them in your art, adding resonance for your audience, and authenticity that separates art from craft.
2. Embracing Curiosity
Curiosity fuels the artist’s journey, driving exploration and innovation. Pablo Picasso, known for his revolutionary contributions to the world of art, profoundly stated, "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." This reflects an insatiable curiosity, a desire to venture beyond known boundaries and to continuously learn. Picasso kept his child's sense of the world active, always reimagining the forms he found, a simple dinner plate, a guitar, seeking the invisible in the visible.
Leonardo da Vinci, an epitome of the Renaissance man, was a living embodiment of curiosity, his works and inventions stretching across various fields, driven by a relentless quest for knowledge.
Wherever he turned his eye, he let his curiosity lead him, never imposing limits on his imagination, never questioning his path, always open to the different ideas that crossed his mind.
3. Inspiring Wonder
Wonder is the heart of an artist’s world, a sense of awe and fascination with the beauty and complexity of life. Vincent Van Gogh, whose works are celebrated for their emotional intensity, beautifully captured this, saying, "I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart." His passion and awe for the world around him translated into vivid, swirling skies and vibrant landscapes, showing how wonder translates into creative expression.
His passion drove him, growing more insistent as he followed his muse. If it was early in the morning, or late at night, Vincent saw the world through his unique vision and work to capture it's essence, it's movement, its flow, the wind and light, the stars and moon, seeing the energy flowing through the world and tracing its path across his canvases.
4. Setting Boundaries
Artists often grapple with boundaries, both societal and self-imposed. Frida Kahlo, renowned for her deeply personal and symbolic paintings, often explored the boundaries of identity, pain, and gender. She once stated, "I paint my own reality." This reflects the idea of using art as a means to explore and challenge boundaries, to paint a reality that transcends conventional limits.
Estimates of the number of paintings created by Kahlo during her lifetime vary, with some sources suggesting fewer than 150 artworks. She cultivated blended elements of reality with surrealistic components, often portraying themes of pain and mortality.
Frida never let herself be defined by the world around her. She set her own course, set strong boundaries, and followed her unique vision no matter the obstacles u tin her way. She never settled for less than who she fullly was in her heart and soul.
5. The Art of Self-Care: Balancing Health and Creativity
The health of an artist – mental, physical, and emotional – significantly impacts their creative output. Edvard Munch, best known for "The Scream," exemplified the deep connection between emotional turmoil and artistic expression. He once said, "Art comes from joy and pain... But mostly from pain." This highlights the importance of acknowledging and nurturing one's health and well-being as an integral part of the artistic process.
Munch grappled with significant mental health challenges throughout his life. It is widely believed that he suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder, a mental health condition marked by profound fears of abandonment, persistent feelings of emptiness, impulsive actions, and an array of other symptoms.
Additionally, Munch struggled with alcoholism, a condition frequently linked to the impulsive behaviors common among artists driven by artistic passion.
Nothing his more important than your health. Work to keep your balance and well-being, prioritize time every day for your health.
In conclusion, the journey of an artist is a tapestry woven with commitment, curiosity, wonder, an understanding of boundaries, and the nurturing of health. It’s a journey that’s deeply personal yet universally resonant, a dance between the artist and their canvas, where each brushstroke tells a story of courage, exploration, awe, challenge, and vulnerability.
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