In a Life in Art, Uncertainty Needs a Comfortable Place to Sit.
I learned it young.
I aspired to be a newspaper comic strip artist while I was growing up, as the newspaper comic business was shrinking. Thinking I had missed the boat, a new boat appeared to harbor my weird characters and stories in animation. A medium that I loved so much more than comic drawing. As Joseph Campbell says, “Sometimes we have to let go of the life we planned in order to make way for the one that is waiting for us”.
Things are changing even more at a rapid pace than when I was first embarking in a life of art. Illustrators had once had comfortable careers painting for advertising were rapidly having trouble keeping that boat afloat..
A life in art asks for flexibility. Experimentation. Adapting to your canvas and making the journey part of your art. Commerce changes. Needs and what others value changes. Your style and what you have to say doesn’t have to change, but sometimes you can see opportunity on the horizon that you didn’t even predict. An opportunity to try a different form of expression that may also help to pay the bills. Often it’s better than you ever imagined.
We can’t waste precious time bemoaning what is no longer. What our careers used to look like. How much money we used to make, or how much notoriety we once had. Those are illusions anyway. Sometimes we even limit ourselves with what we think is right for us. Your art is happening right now, and moving like water where it wants to go. It has bigger plans for us than we know.
If you are going through uncertainty, paint about it. Write about it. Laugh at it. Whether you like it or not, it’s what happens in life. Use the canvas you have on hand.