Friday, November 22, 2013

To Be or Not To Be An Artist

My Friend, Arizona Artist Anna Sadler posted this a week ago. The first thing that popped in my mind wasn't what to put after those two words but what do those two words mean?  An old exercise from English class is where I started:

"Am, Is, Are, Were, Was, Be, Being, Been."
These are the forms of BE. A linking verb that connects a subject to an ACTION.  Sometimes it is the action itself.  Shakespeare understood this:
                              "To BE or Not TO BE....That is the question"
It is actually The Ultimate Question asking you to make the choice to Exists or Not Exist.
So was does it mean to make the choice and exist as an Artist? Here are some thoughts.
TO BE BRAVE:  You have selected a path that asks you to expose yourself without the safety net of a computer, organization, or a one size fits all protocol.  You have made the commitment to take risks and trust your talent. Every day when you start a job you are agreeing to a new challenge. Put on your big girl or boy pants and walk out that door with confidence. It will help you BE Brave if you can also:
BE TOUGH: Choosing a creative path means you are opening yourself up to be judged every time you seek a project.  There is nowhere to hide. You are the cheese and the cheese stands alone.  People that know nothing about you beyond the fact that you paint will question you, doubt you, and test you. You will be insulted, lied to, and made to jump through hoops. And in the process you will feel frustration.  And become tired. But you are strong. You accepted the challenge of being your own boss- something many of the very people trying to bring you down will never have the guts to do. One way to Be Tough is to:

BE ORIGINAL:  Teddy Roosevelt said "Comparison is the thief of Joy."  When you find yourself comparing your work to others you are robbing yourself. One of the reasons you chose art was to be original. To contribute something new or unique that didn't exist before you decided to create it. You look at the blank canvas or space and see Joy. Judge your work by your standards and know that to excel, Original people learn to:

BE PATIENT:  Very few of us achieve recognition over-night. It is a process that requires dedication and self-control. For many Artists the ideas come rapidly-it is the execution that takes time. We live in a world where people always seem busy. Don't mistake activity for productively. Peace of mind can be a great asset for a successful entrepreneur and Being Patient will help to
BE OPEN:  To be an Artist is to be a life-long learner.  We all grow-up with a set of beliefs and we tend to surround ourselves with people that share our world view.  As Artists we need to be still sometimes and invite the Universe in. Learning to share our space with different people with different stories challenges our ideas and thoughts.  Open mindedness doesn't mean you sacrifice the values that define you, instead it helps you build experience and know that you are part of a much larger plan.  When we are open to experiencing the larger world, we learn how to:

BE GRATEFUL:  There are people who by virtue of location, gender, or cultural circumstance will be limited in reaching their potential.  You are fortunate to live where you can be an artists and entrepreneur regardless of your birth.  There are people who are luckier and may seem to have more but as an Artist you recognize the beauty and abundance in your life.  And every day you practice your trade you are celebrating the talents you have been given and showing your thanks.
So what are the words I will put after I AM, the present perfect of TO BE?
That is the shape of our reality.



  1. In the middle of a ceiling that was kicking my butt, this pinged in. SO timely. I am grateful to you and Anna. Ceiling is going much better with change of attitude! Neck, not so much...