Fear, Terror and Gratitude
To make a living as an artist, is to ride a roller-coaster of fear, terror and exhilaration. For those of you wishing to live the life of the artist, tread carefully. The highs are high, the lows are low. In the first four years of our business, our young family lived below the poverty line. With each new grand creation, I thought the world would notice, that hordes of people would come pounding at our door, begging to have us create something. And while that may have happened somewhere, once or twice, it didn't happen to us. My advice is to park that idea of overnight success on the shelf alongside one's spent lottery tickets. It is best to master your craft. Put in, as Malcolm Gladwell would say, 10,000 hours.
Remember, the artist's job is to create something beautiful, something that resonates, touches the heart, stirs the mind. But an artist does not live in a vacuum. One's work is other-directed. Artists cannot live unless there are patrons of the artist, otherwise known as clients, those that pay for the food and heat. One can only go so long painting on cave walls before one realizes the economic necessity of making a living. So, while the artist has a vision for their art, they also must serve a need. Van Gogh never sold a painting in his life, Emily Dickinson never published a poem. I greatly admire their art, but not their lives. Despite the incessant cries of our modern world, art is not about expressing oneself, it is about revealing the true and the beautiful to a client base that is willing to pay for it.
Clients make the life of the artist possible. Without their encouragement and support, there would be no artists. Whenever I get low or start beating myself up, I only have to remember my clients. They are so amazing. They have put food on our table, helped our children get educations, even paid for the computer I am typing on. In short, they have made this artist's life possible for the last 28 years. I wish to thank them all individually, but alas, there are so many, it is impossible. You know who you are. And we are so grateful for you.