Thursday, August 21, 2014

Being a Professional Artist

What does it really take to be a professional artist?

Most people would tell you it takes talent. But is that really enough? I personally started drawing and painting as a little child. But then most children draw and paint. Why do so many children grow up and stop creating art at some point in their lives?  The same people who could draw, paint, sing and dance as children mysteriously decide they are unable to do those things as adults. What happened?

I believe that a career as professional artist has more to do with dedication and hard work then just plain talent. If a person does not have a passion to follow their talent, they may continue their art as a hobby, but they will find other careers that interest them more. For some people it is less about the career and more about wanting an affluent life that the artist life rarely provides.

Because there are so many talented individuals, the competition in any art field is fierce. That fact alone discourages anyone who is not driven to pursue their art in spite of the odds.  Actually, I believe some of the most successful artists actually have less talent than others, but instead they possess far more tenacity and passion for what they do.

 There have been times in my life when I have felt like giving up. In fact, I had a teacher in college who said some pretty discouraging things to me. I continued on as a professional photographer, but I gave up painting for about 5 years. The desire to draw began to grow in me until I found myself sketching on napkins, church programs and tax forms. Before I knew it, drawings and paintings were exploding out of me. I couldn't hold it back. It is what I must do.

That passion also keeps me in a constant state of improvement. My art, whether it is photography, painting, drawing or digital graphics is never good enough in my mind. I create constantly like a basketball player practices his free throws. I take workshops, read art magazines, and watch online classes to perfect my craft. Spending time painting and creating with other artists keeps me encouraged and focused.

The same can be said of other competitive careers.  Steve Jobs said it best... "You have to have a lot of passion for what you are doing because it is so hard… if you don’t, any rational person would give up."

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