Arts Artist Artwork posed the seemingly simple question to their 1.2+ million viewers 'What qualities must an artist have?' and even though I didn't respond online, the question really stuck with me. What qualities do I depend on to stay both creative and relevant? For something that should be relatively simple, the answer is in fact, quite complex.
Actively being creative is a such a solitary thing, you really can't have any noise or outside voices distracting you. You need to be silent and listen to your own nothingness. You can't even listen to your own voice because once that negative talk slips in it is time to stop. Keeping that negative talk locked away, is something that all of us tend to battle with, not just the creatives. For me, music is essential for keeping me distracted. Opposing the need for solidarity, is the need to belong to a community. You need to talk to other artists, learn from them, and feel like you are not alone on this journey. You need to have people in your corner believing in you, keeping you motivated and cheering you on.
Another critical element of being an artist is tenacity. Being an artist is not easy, in fact I can't think of too many other avocations that can bring about so many hi's and low's. Just when you think you doing well, something will come along and bring you back to your knees. Thankfully, the universe works the other way as well. I have wanted to quit more times than I can count, but something will happen to make me keep going. Being self-taught brings along a whole new set of obstacles, because I don't always have the skills to fall back on when I get stuck or if something is just not working. I cannot tell you how many times I sat in my studio on my little workout ball completely frustrated, flipping the canvas upside-down, trying to figure out where the painting wanted to go.
Being an artist is a never ending journey. There is no end game, or making it, or even knowing where you are going for that matter. All I know, is that I want to paint, I need to paint. It is a voice inside that has a lot to say, and is constantly evolving and growing. The insatiable need to nurture that voice is what pushes the artist forward - forward into the unknown.