Struggling Artist

Originally published via Wordpress June 22, 2018

Let's think on that phrase for a minute. What image comes to mind immediately? Is it a man and his dog on the side of a building holding a cardboard sign? (yikes, sorry.) Is it a sleep deprived art student  barely surviving off of ramen noodles and turpentine? Is it you when you lived in the city and had to work three jobs to pay rent and barely had any time to actually make work? 

Yeah, those are definitely pretty typical images. But one of the more prevalent themes I'm seeing these days, especially among people of our generation is this: you go to art school (or are just really good at art in high school), maybe pay a shit ton of money for a degree in fine arts (ahem, B.F.A. in Painting) or maybe not, and then through a stream of somewhat shitty jobs and the classic coffee shop struggle you finally land a decent 8-5. And stay there. Trust me! I get it. Sometimes that kind of security is irreplicable. 


"If you feel safe in the area you're working in, you're not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you're capable of being. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don't feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you're just about in the right place to do something exciting." - David Bowie

A lot of times, that space of security can be where we get stuck. I mean, full time jobs are great. Benefits are great. Steady paychecks are amazing. But also, they can be hella draining (unless it's something you absolutely love doing),  and they deplete the greatest resource you have to offer- your time. Oh, and did I mention energy? If you are someone who always strives to do their best, you can't help but give a lot. You're a high achiever, it's natural. The only issue with that is that you give so much of yourself in order to help build someone else's empire you forget to invest into your own. And this inner magical, creative world of yours gets sad and lonely without its ruler.

Sure, you still daydream, and you never stop seeing things creatively or being drawn to colorful and funky visuals or decor, but the less time you spend deep down in the very gut of that space, the further you get from making that inner world your outer reality. It's really that simple.

So that, my friends, is the struggle. I'm seeing it everywhere and it's rampant. It is so easy to get sucked into the grind of our lives, the work-rent-eat-unwind-sleep-work routine that we forget to allocate time for our Art, our oldest friend. We forget to connect with other artists and have become so separated from that side of ourselves that Art becomes at best an old friend you sometimes call. And certainly we are no longer in its flaming belly.


Let's get back to the belly of Art. Let's get back to those dreams, those ideas, those skills you've set aside to "pick back up later." Because later is Now. Because Art misses you and Ideas won't always stick around - they'll go find someone who can give them what they need (see Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert).

The struggle is a careful balance balance of energy and a delicate fight with security. We want to feel supported, but not too safe. We want to feel secure, but not stuck. You want to be an artist, but you want to pay your bills. And you kind of have to pay your bills. It's undoubtedly a struggle. Sometimes it's easier to numb that part of yourself than to constantly feel the ache. And after a while, it's been so long that the thought of sharing your art can be totally daunting.

But let me tell you. This vicious cycle will only kill your spirit and continue to kill it over and over and over again as you let doubt and fear replace your wonder and curiosity.

Let's break this cycle.

Let's get back to the heart of your creativity and reawaken your talents and drive. Let's reallocate your energy so that rather than just serving your boss and your bills, you serve yourself first. Let's get you connected back to that great, divine, cosmic energy that rules and guides you. You owe it to yourself. Let's do this thing. Freedom is a right.

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