April 19, 2008

What is a succesful artist?

If you were looking for more blogging about learning styles, I will revisit. I just got too busy this week to research.

My idea of success when I was 25 and in the midst of graduate school is SO different than now.

I have often struggled with the gifts I have been given. For many years it was struggling with, "what can I do to make a living and still do what I love?". Then it was the typical questions of, "Am I good enough?" and of course thrown in there were the questions, "Will I ever get out of school?" and "Will I ever do anything with my art?" translated to be, "Will I be successful?". Of course the worlds idea of success and God's idea are two totally different things. My idea of success was to land a good teaching job right out of graduate school and to be showing in galleries and museums. I was headed there, I had the big commission jobs, I had gallery and museum shows, I had even started to get some national exposure. Then I took a side trip. Who would have known that side trip included being married and raising four kids, much less home schooling and NOT having a place to work in clay?

When I was in graduate school my first instructor said some things that really hurt at the time. Luckily he didn't change how I viewed things (unless determination to prove him wrong was a change). He told me, and I quote, " You cannot be a Christian and an artist at the same time, you have to choose." I still cannot believe that I just stared at him and had no answer. I think my only response was to shake my head no, and look at him with utter disbelief and walk away. How do you answer a statement like that? How is a person who already doubts her talents and gifts supposed to deal with the ideology of worldly instructors who are against everything she believes. Yet, those same instructors have such an impact on who we become. They can really make a difference on the opportunities that come our way and the encouragement we so desperately long for.

I guess he would look at my life today and say, "I told you so!". I don't feel like I failed though. I do some form of art every day and I really could care less if it is in a gallery or in my own home. It is more about the NEED to create than who is looking at it. If I can create something for a friend and give them some beauty in their day, that is enough. So... I am successful according to those standards. I have succeeded!!


Paula Bauer said...

Bravo! I agree -- the creative process is essential for my own mental/emotional balance.

While a wife & mother can express creatively in numerous ways throughout the day in things like meals, home decor, even home atmosphere...none of that stays 'done'. Creating something that looks lovely and stays 'done' is part of the drive of my creative muse, I think!

And what a horrible thing to be slapped with by your art instructor! The vain philosophies of the world have always held Christ in contempt and derision, unable to see the truth and held captive by the 'gods' of their own making. I feel pity for him and am thankful that God girded you up to withstand the lies that demanded compromise or abandonment of your faith.

Lady in Waiting said...

I LOVE your work - WOW - I will be back to your shop - it is beautiful!!!