Of art and artists

I have some artist friends and we talk about art and artists all the time. A few of them include: a musician (cello), a woodworker (studio furniture and sculpture), ceramic artist (vessels and sculpture), a dancer (modern and ethnic), a film director, a theater director, a landscape photographer, a writer (magazine/novel/essayist), and fashion designer among the most verbal. Most of them have been working and making a living in their art for more than 25 years. Most of them have gained some regional, national or international recognition.

Here are a few points from the conversations we have been having:

  1. Most of them did not set out to be an artist. Even the musician and the dancer came to their art later than high school.
  2. Most of them spent years working on technique, fundamentals, and basic craftsmanship in their chosen art.
  3. None of them (most in the 60s – 70s ) felt like they were at the top of their game. They were sure that their best work is yet to come.
  4. At one time or another, all of them had taught others in their chosen art.
  5. Most had wide ranging interests in many fields other than their art. A few were history buffs, some were gardeners, others were interested in psychology and other fields.
  6. Most of them did not pursue their art because they could make money, though a some have commercial endeavors to fund their artistic explorations.
  7. Public acceptance, while a consideration, most of them would still pursue their art if nobody bought, listened or viewed their work.
  8. Contrary to the popular conception of artists pursuing their work as “artistic expression” most of them talked about “personal exploration.” Conversations have revolved around “finding myself in art” or “discovering what and who I am” in their art.
  9. None of them considered themselves masters of their art. They were open to learning more, learning from others, and sharing insights.
  10. All of them had failures or major set backs at some point in their artistic careers. A couple have had catastrophic failures.
  11. All of them at one time or another, questioned whether they were meant to pursue their art.
  12. All of them felt compelled to pursue their chosen field of art, it was something they could not imagine not doing for the rest of their lives.

For me, these conversations have fueled my own pursuit of Chado as my chosen “art.” These artists are inspirational and I see my own life reflected in these conversations. I hope you will find these points interesting and inspirational, too.

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