This is how the dictionary defines “artist.” Most of the time, when we hear the word, our brains immediately conjure up images of painters, dancers, actors and musicians. For the purposes of this post, I’d like to broaden this standard definition of “artist” and look at that fifth definition: “a person whose work exhibits exceptional skill.”
Artists are able to exhibit this exceptional skill in their work because they approach their work, and their life, creatively. Artists are smart, critical thinkers. Artists envision a big picture and know how attention to the details can help them achieve it. Artists are problem solvers. Artists act, and they react. Artists can generate a million answers to a creative question, and they refine the skill that allows them to choose the one that will work.
Artists have the reputation of being moody, flighty individuals who lack balance in their lives. Hmmm… that sounds familiar: moody, unable to focus, lacking balance? Sounds to me a lot like being a HUMAN.
We artists get SO wrapped up in our work. Our soul is in a part of it. It has to be- that’s what makes it art. And there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t care if you’re a dancer, a musician, a painter, a designer, a teacher, a parent, a doctor or an accountant. We should all be so lucky to be passionately in love with the work that we do, no matter what the work is. Commit to your work. Challenge your thoughts. Immerse yourself. Ask questions. Love what you do. It’s IMPORTANT.
It’s equally important to take a step back from this work that you love with such wild abandon, if for no other reason than to cultivate a great sense of self-awareness. Take a step back and see which parts of yourself are you work (because art is highly personal, as we’ve already established) and which parts of you lie outside your work. This increased self-knowledge will lead to a higher quality of art and a deeper sense of passionate satisfaction with what you create.
Remember that in addition to being an artist, you are a person. A living, breathing human being with wants, needs, strengths and weaknesses; a human being with ambitions and goals, but also one with limits. But the limits I’m talking about are not debilitating shackles. The limits still allow us to create new things, solve problems and live a joyful life. But we can only push ourselves so far or do so much before it’s too much – because artists are people too.