Advice to the Aspiring Artist

“What advice would you give to someone just starting out as an artist? Or, someone who isn’t sure if they definitely want to pursue art as a career?”  The time came for me to ask Steve a random question, disguising my need for advice with a question I hope will lead him to the answer I am hoping for.  His response startled me, “I would never suggest to someone that they choose art as a career.” 

The answer came as a shock, because only moments ago I had asked him if he could do it all over again, would he still be an artist. His response was, “Yes, definitely!”  Yet, now he was saying that there is no way he would suggest that path to anyone else. 

He explained, Steve would never advise someone to choose art or painting for a career, because the career is more something that chooses you.  It’s something that you can’t not do.  It’s something that you are called to, and despite what you may choose, you need to do it.  Then he says, even though if he had to go back and do it again, he would, if he had known all the sacrifice that would come with being an artist he is unsure if he would have the courage to do it.

“That’s the thing about culture today,” he says “everyone wants to know what the future holds. Whether it’s through intellectual prediction, fortune telling, or even through God, everyone wants to know what is in their future.” 

I thought about it.  I know this is true for me.  Particularly with the political climate of today, it seems anyone’s guess is as good as anyone else’s as to what will happen tomorrow.  Things seems so unsure, so unpredictable.  Yes, I want to know.  I want to know who wins the election, what the weather looks like tomorrow, if I will ever make it as an artist, if I am doing the right thing for my kids, and how long I have left on this planet to make an impact.  It almost seems that trying to understand what the future may hold has become synonyms with living in this world. 

Then he says, “Where is the fun in that?”

“If we know what the future holds then there is no reason for faith.  And, a life without faith, already knowing what is to come. Where is the fun in that?  What is the point?”

I suddenly became very aware of my paintbrush.  I thought of my preoccupation with how my painting will turn out, rather than appreciating each stroke as it’s made, enjoying the process. 

He’s right. 

So, what I have learned from today, to those aspiring to be artists, or really anyone, do whatever it is that you can’t help but do.  Do what God created you to do, and put your faith in him that he can get you through whatever it is you need to sacrifice in order to do it.  

Young Steve and his Family

Young Steve and his Family

Posted on October 12, 2016 .