What does success mean? Most people think it means getting someone to agree with you. They “buy” your product.

When an art show sells out the first night of the show, well that is big success, right?  I think that is wrong. Success does not depend on others agreeing with you that you are good and that is what selling out is all about. Everybody wants to get something that is seeming to be a hot item. Then after that happens everybody treats you differently, as though you are amazing and your work is way way better than everyone else that did not sell out the first night. That is the way the world works.

But the artist should not be a part of that thinking or you will be ruined. An artist should not care what happens to his work. His job is do the work that only he can do and let the chips fall where they will. The artist is successful if and only if he does all he can to be the best unique artist he is. Only you know if you are successful or not. You are not better or worse because somebody else did or did not like your work enough to buy it. If you know this you will be free.

Never let someone else tell you what you are. That is between you and God.

3 Replies to “Success”

  1. Well, I think self-assigned success breaks down pretty quickly. Some people think they are amazing (just watch American Idol for proof) and those who can objectively measure success can tell them they are objectively awful. Awful ain’t successful. 🙂 Some people should not be artists, and the proof is whether the pudding is edible. Sometimes the best gauge is whether anyone wants seconds.

    1. I see too many deaths to say if everybody doesn’t love you are are bad. Deaths in that the creator just gives up/ You might be one inch away from making what you are working on great. American Idol lets those strange people on for entertainment sake. I am sure the people that go on that show are not all thinking they are great but they just want to be seen on television. I am talking about any creative act that you quit because of self doubt. I almost quit trying to be a painter. It had been years since I sold anything and I thought I guess I am not a painter or it would have happened by now. It was the grace of God that the next day after I made that decision to quit that I got a call to do a mural and the rest just came after that.

  2. I guess what I’m reacting to is our equivocal culture where everyone is okay; we coddle people rather than tell them the truth. Back to my example of American Idol, some of the early folks are truly certain they’re great, you can tell by the way they ball their eyes out, and it’s cuz their momma told ’em they were great, and their friends, etc. Sometimes the best thing that can happen is to have an honest assessment of the value of the work, so the person can reflect on the criticism and can say, “wow, I either need to take some lessons, or find a better way of expressing what is inside.” Having said that, I totally see your point, particularly if the artist has something in them they have to do, they feel compelled to do, then truly, they need to persevere to get that thing, whatever it is, onto some kind of canvas / medium. Maybe they thought they should do pen & ink, when in fact, they’re a poet and don’t know it. 🙂

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