“Should I Be An Artist?” is an okay question to ask.
“Should I be an artist” is not a wrong question to ask, at all. It is a good and right question. It comes from a natural desire to make things and add to the world around you. It comes from the natural tendency to explore present in the human race.
The arts are also a necessary component of the human experience. They tell us things that we would not encounter strictly from the sciences, and cause us to think about things in the longer term. Art does things that science cannot. It helps us understand what is good about the world. It helps us think about what is wrong with the world.
“Should I be an artist for money?”
I wrote about this one already. In short, your artistic objectives should really be separate from your financial objectives, at least speaking in terms of the average person. Art doesn’t have to be a finance game, and people interested in making a living from art just need to have an awareness that it takes a lot of work, or a lot of time, or both.
It’s important to really love the craft of art, since there’s a high requirement of personal time and effort investment if you want to get anywhere. That’s not to denigrate anyone who wants to enjoy the craft with a smaller ability or interest in investing time and energy, by the way. Art isn’t some mystical force. It’s a craft that anyone with an ounce of care is allowed to practice and participate in.
You shouldn’t be an artist just for money, but don’t let that stop you one way or another.
This isn’t to say that wanting money for your work is wrong. It’s just that you have to have a really solid perspective around whether you want to do something that can actually viably produce a financial return.
Having said that, the world is strange and sometimes the right chance happens upon the right person with just enough skill. If that person is you, own it fully and practice gratitude for the blessing that’s fallen upon you.
“Should I be an artist if I have nothing to say?”
Most people have something to say. That includes you. Not everyone’s ideas necessarily deserve a platform, but generally they should still be allowed to speak and be judged by the world at large.
One could say that the problem is less having nothing to say and more that the wrong things are being said by too many people and the right things not being said enough. Bad people often express themselves belligerently and good people generally mind their own business because they don’t want to interrupt the peace around them.
Having said that, you do not necessarily have to have “something to say” if you want to be an artist. It just happens that the discipline of art works best when you do have something to say, or at the very least an incredibly clear objective around your work.
Everyone has something to say, just do the work of trying to say something good.
This question mostly pertains to people who have a very serious interest in art and are looking for a direction to take it in. Creative disciplines are not strictly for people who have a message to deliver to the world. They are also for people who really enjoy the world and want to find a way to share what they enjoy with the other people who have to live in the world.
Your “something to say” may not be some moral imperative that you want to broadcast. It could just be trying to expand appreciation for something you take a lot of personal joy in. There’s a lot to appreciate in the world and a lot to be grateful for, and helping more people to appreciate and be grateful for things is a worthy objective in and of itself.
“Should I be an artist if the world needs something else?”
Well, that’s a good question.
I’ve had to think a lot in the past few years about whether I myself ought to be continuing to practice art just as a result of some personal things involving me and my faith. I’m frankly still not certain that I’m practicing the right answer, but because I’m still convicted that I have something that the world of art needs, I keep on going.
The world needs a lot of things. The world needs doctors, engineers, just lawyers, drivers, cooks, builders, financiers, and noble leaders. And maybe doing something that isn’t specifically art would be more gratifying. That’s a question that only you can answer.
Be okay with exiting your comfort zone. Art is really cool. But art is also not necessarily for everyone, at least in a professional capacity. You have every right to reduce the level of personal investment in the craft of art, and to practice something else with full professional intensity. And even with that, you can still create things for fun.
The World always needs something. Whether you answer that call or the call inside your heart is a “between you and God” type question.
If you don’t feel called to art, that’s okay. But do it because you’re fully convinced in your own heart, not because of outside pressure that runs against what you love and value. The World will always want something from you. And maybe you’ll be okay with what The World is asking of you. But be settled in yourself around your own values about what you want to do, first and foremost.
Every man and woman is designed with a certain set of good and noble loves that is right for them to follow and contribute toward. Do what is good and right every chance you get, which might agree with the craft of art, or it might agree with a different craft entirely.
“Should I be an artist if I can’t figure anything else out?”
Good question! I actually know a couple of folks like that and they’re chugging along just fine, even if they aren’t massive financial successes.
An unwillingness or inability to figure out any other crafts or disciplines will come with certain costs or sacrifices, but that usually means that a lot more energy gets invested into a creative craft that results in a higher level of success in that craft. “Life finds a way”, so to speak.
If art’s the only thing you can figure out, give it full gas. Just remember that it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
Just be ready for more speed bumps if this is your circumstance. Again, you may encounter certain heavier costs. You may have to move and/or figure out how to live with less. You may have to take on jobs you don’t care much for in order to survive. You may have to put off things you really care about.
It’s you vs. you on this one. Spend time thinking critically through your circumstances, your values, and your capabilities.
“Art looks easy! Should I be an artist?”
who are you and what are you doing in my house
Art is not intrinsically an easy craft. It comes easier to some people because of certain elements of acuity and natural talent. There are several creative disciplines under the umbrella of art that come easily to certain people, but that does not mean that it costs nothing to participate in the craft.
Now, it definitely gets easier if you’re willing to study and put in the work, whatever subset of the art you choose to participate in. But never be fooled by the appearance of ease. There’s a lot of work and a lot of time required if you have a serious vested interest.
Having said that, being in it for fun without a whole lot of super serious interest, again, is perfectly valid. Just remember to match your expectations of what you get out of it to what you put into it.
Only you can decide whether you should be an artist.
Ask yourself the right questions. Do the right things for the right reasons. Line your expectations up with your efforts and your goals.
Just like anything else in life, there’s a lot of moving parts around what we want to choose to do. Identifying those moving parts and building good perspective around them helps us understand better what we should commit to or participate in.
Artists are not excused from the hard questions about our own lives.
(but don’t that discourage you, you’ve got a little while to figure things out)
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