It occurred to me over the course of this term that I tend to hold myself back artistically. I like to compare myself to other people, and as long as I’m doing as well as everyone else, I feel like I’m doing well. But what I realized is that measuring myself according to other people only works as long as there are people to compare to, and once I’m out of school I really won’t have that luxury anymore. So what’s going to keep me doing art once I graduate?
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that for a really long time I’ve been operating as an artist without any passion. I’m writing, acting, composing, singing, or whatever simply because I can, and I assume that as long as I’m “doing a good job,” I’m doing okay.
But the truth is–and I got this listening to my writing teachers–that the best reason to do art is because you love it. You have to love it…you have to love the creative process. That’s probably self-evident to most people, but it was a rather profound discovery for me.
“Do your best at art because the art deserves it. If you truly love your particular art and truly respect its power and beauty, do it justice.”
That’s what I’m so bad at doing. I figure as long as my art is good enough that no one will think it sucks, I must be doing a good job. I guess, in the end, passion is a much more satisfying reason to be an artist, because it frees me from being dependent on other people’s approval for success.
Ultimately, it seems to me that the most powerful reason for doing art is that it satisfies some deep, personal need within me. If I’m not driven to the writing pad or the piano or the stage by something powerful and spiritual, I’ll never really enjoy art, and I’ll certainly never create anything meaningful.