Why would anyone be an artist?
“I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It’s so fuckin’ heroic.”
This quote popped up on my studio calendar today by the late George Carlin, a stand-up comedian, actor & author. It paints such a great visual picture in my head. When you paint you tend to notice all the little things, like weeds growing out of tiny cracks in a dirty urban sprawl and yes they blow my mind with their beauty and sheer determination. I could talk about how nature prevails, despite mankind trying to concrete it over, but this morning I just thought wow, sometimes that’s how I feel as an artist.
There are plenty of far more heroic professions, but being an artist often feels like you are working so hard, trying to do all the right things to help you progress, but everyone’s too busy to notice these beautiful things you’ve created. You are trying so hard to find and then squeeze yourself through a tiny crack in the art world. It can be an endurance test, an ill-advised financial gamble, an impossible practical task, a ‘non-career’ vocation, a drain on your social relations, a crushing or occasional ego-boosting rollercoaster with no predetermined methods or incremental steps up the career ladder to guarantee success. You may or may not get training and a qualification for this job; you may or may not find that useful to your career. So why the heck do we put ourselves through this?