It may just be my current predicament, but I always seem to come back to the same concern. I want to follow my passion and try to move more fully into the artistic realm, yet there is resistance. The usual concerns can be cited: there is no money and people don’t see the merit. This seems to be a trend in our society. The arts are not supported. Why is this?
People scoff at the mention of a career in art. It is perceived to be a waste of time and of little value. Maybe this is not helped by the fact that some of the students that attend art school are those intentionally counter-culture students that sometimes seem over pretentious. I remember one time I was at an “art student party”, and I was excited because I thought that I would have some things in common with these students, being that we were all artists. However, I am a mostly self-taught artist and somehow this separates me from them. I flip through a sketchbook laying on the counter. It is filled with still life renditions and sketchy drawings. I am slightly amused. The owner comes to pick it up, and I begin to converse. Who is your favorite artist? I ask. A fairly simple ice breaker, I thought. I don’t have a favorite, how could you even ask that question? He answered as he walked away. I’m not even sure what to make of that interaction, or really how it relates to my initial point, but I just remember thinking that if that individual really loved art, if he really shared my passion for creating, then he could pick a favorite, any favorite, and start talking about how those lines jump off the canvas and how they energize his spirit, but instead I was belittled for my lack of apathy towards mainstream art. Maybe art changes when you are forced to do it. Maybe the grass is always greener and my passion for art has been kept alive by my constant struggle to keep up with my passion.
The point still remains, however, that it is hard to integrate a life in academia with a life of art. For that matter, it is probably hard for a passionate artist to pursue any vocation other than art. I have often fantasized about dropping everything to really just create, but finances would never allow this, which is sad. I think this is true for a good many artists. This is strange because artists and creative minds play such a central role in our society. Artists have an uncanny power. Through different media, they entrance us. With music, they synchronize us in a common rhythm that hypnotically sways away worry, and will sight and touch and text, they can challenge us to consider, interpret, and build up an entire reality in which new laws govern. These laws expand the horizons of mind and restructure the realm of possibilities, spawning new technology and processes. Art is a catalyst for growth and change, both within and individual and within a society. Yet the artist must struggle to develop and nourish his passion in secret and in the background. Art has the capacity to induce a state of wonder and subliminal awe in which new truths are discovered. It is one of the basic pillars that props support humanity. To create is to live, and artists are expert creators.