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Grey Cross Studios
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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Night Terrors of the Struggling Artist

I talk a lot in my blog about the various aspects of being an artist. The successes, the challenges and yes occasionally the struggles.

Some know that I am just a month off from my first major show. A show that I am putting together with my own resources and wiles. The details and planning so far have gone stunningly well. I will be showing with two other international artists who are both friends and associates and some of the best artists I've had the fortune to know.

But late at night, once I've completed the days works, the night terrors set in.

Will the show fail? Will my work be considered trivial and amateur? Will I run out of basic supplies to finish the body of work I am creating? And most important, how will I ever manage the funds it will take to make the show a success?

How on earth do other artists handle it? How do we possibly get ahead with our work when all the odds are stacked against us?

I was asked once why my work was rarely seen in the public eye. This is exactly why. I want to be in studio creating, not worrying myself to the point of becoming sick because I am striving for attention for my work.

But there comes a point where an artist must acknowledge that work which remains in a closet or an attic and never seen is perhaps the saddest thing that can happen to an artist. Art is meant to be seen.

So when I let my guard down, the worries and fears seek to overwhelm. They whisper in my ear about how ridiculously poor I am and that even attempting this is a feat beyond my ability. When one worries sometimes about buying light bulbs to keep the studio lit, how is one supposed to reconcile the necessity of needing enough lighting to illuminate art for the visitors?

I consider myself a reasonably creative man. I seek answers to all the problems and ways to make it happen and I am hopeful it will. But that does not mean that I am not terrified as hell about it.

But this is what it means to be an artist in today's society. There is no gallery standing behind me, coordinating details while I focus on creating the work. There is no special pot of gold that will emerge to help me achieve this goal and even if there was, there is no guarantee that the show will even be a success.

Paints a rather bleak picture doesn't it? But these are the realities that we have to face if we want to be an artist full time. It takes willpower to succeed and it takes pain. People forget that its not just a snap of your fingers to achieve your dreams.

So don't fear the night terrors. They are a natural part of the process as a poor struggling artist. Its life.

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