“Mastery is a journey, not a destination. True masters never believe they have attained mastery. There is always more to be learned and greater skill to be developed”
Right now, this month / week / day … I am struggling with what amounts to identifying the source of my validation as an artist. For that matter, as a person; it’s hard to separate the two. At a macro level, its the difference between whether you are relying on intrinsic vs extrinsic reference systems. Everything I work on and read with regards to “soul work” emphasizes the need to ditch the external and rely on the internal. And they are most certainly connected. I do love the flow state that I enter when making art. This is clearly an intrinsic reference. Above and beyond that is the lifetime pursuit to develop a mastery of your craft (also, clearly intrinsic). If you can focus your energy here, I believe the extrinsic will follow. It is a natural consequence of the “Art Ecosystem”
What I’m trying to do is not fall into the trap of it becoming my art “Ego-System” wherein I pursue that external praise and approval, above the pursuit of mastery and internal validation.
I’ll be honest, I kind of suck at that. I like being told I make awesome art (insert smirking emoji!). Making money can be a cool thing too …
Seriously though, as an artist, it’s easy to fall into this trap, especially if this is how you make your living. To do so, you have to sell your art. Which means you have established a price. Which means you – in theory with input from Mr. Market – have attached a value. And who isn’t inclined to think the value of all their heart and soul that went into that piece of art, is the highest possible?
It’s OK to play the game (sell-more-art) and to play to win but make sure to keep your eye on the real prize, the journey of mastery. Both of your craft and of yourself.
And, as always, make the best possible art you are capable of making, quality art (thank you Mr. Pirsig)…