Pearls from artists* # 440February 3, 2021
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Most artists desire recognition, and the persistent lack of it may be a bitter pill to swallow. The artist who is too-soon recognized, as Norman Mailer felt himself to be, might argue that early fame is harder on the artist than years of obscurity. But the composer with a score for a powerful symphony locked away in his drawer, and the actress who has never found a way into a great drama, are hard-pressed to agree with Mailer. Similarly, the painter who has her entire output of paintings to enjoy for herself because she cannot sell them may praise her fortitude and applaud her accomplishments, but still experiences great sadness.
If you are not honored with real, appropriate recognition, you struggle not to consider yourself a failure. You may argue that it is the world that has failed you… but it is hard to take comfort in that knowledge. You need recognition more than you need accurate understanding of why recognition has eluded you. And as you deal, during your years in the trenches, with what may turn out to be a maddingly insufficient lack of recognition, you are challenged to find ways of maintaining your faith, courage, good cheer, and emotional equilibrium.
Eric Maisel, A Life in the Arts: Practical Guidance and Inspiration for Creative and Performing Artists
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