To make great art you have to be fearless

Artists are known to lead volatile lives, some through drugs and alcohol, others through explosive relationships, others yet through recklessness – financial or otherwise. All this is because the artist, to be satisfied with his or her output, needs to feel something and express those feelings. Otherwise, even if technically brilliant and maybe even beautiful and commercially successful creations result, the true artist feels unsatisfied. Going too long without really feeling anything worthy of expressing results in one feeling like a fake. Walking the artistic tightrope requires a balance between sensitivity and not getting bogged down by details. The artist has to feel everything but not get hung up on anything. The work has to be approached fearlessly, and if something needs to be wiped out and redone, so be it!

There is also another balance that the artist needs to learn. Of course, most of our best work comes during moments of special inspiration, but we can’t sit around waiting for those moments to strike. An artist who does that ultimately abandons the art all together. Sometimes, in fact a lot of the time, inspiration comes while your struggling with your art in a less than inspired state. In life as well as in art, we just sometimes have to push on. Sometimes, we need to force ourselves and do what is difficult. One can’t live with only the big picture in mind – you can’t be happy if your big picture is the desire to be a millionaire, but you don’t have any money. You can’t get from zero to a million in one step. It is the same in art. The painting will not be perfect from the start. And yet, you have to focus on the brushstrokes, on getting little things done, making small steps towards your goal. If you are not inspired, think of it this way: nobody is asking you to produce a masterpiece right this moment. But you can lay the foundation, or at least prime some canvases. You can make a rough drawing. You can fill some areas with colors. You can play with some ideas. Then, when inspiration finally hits, you will be able to tackle your art and put the finishing touches. But you can’t be worried about whether what you are doing is any good. Just remember – every minute you spend on your craft, regardless of whether anything results of it, is practice. And as they say, practice makes perfect. Or at the very least, it makes you better.

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