Do you ever feel like it is selfish of you to strive for success as an artist?
Believe me, I’ve felt the unspoken judgement of wanting to climb the ladder of artistic success so much that I believed it was wrong of me to want it.
Especially as a female, it was expected that I wouldn’t be quite as ambitious as the male artists around me. And if I was, I was selfish for wanting more, or agressive. Sound familiar?
Success can mean more money, selling your work for high prices, being affiliated with more high end exhibitions, getting more press, more autonomy with your time, or any number of markers that you set for your self.
Whatever your goals for artistic success and stardom, most of us dream of reaching some level of acclaim, which translates rewards that are not just tangible. In fact, we aren’t actually after the tangible things at all. Let’s take a look at two of the markers of success and what they give us intangibly.
- Money: when we get more money, especially a lot of it, there is less worry about being able to cover the bills. There is also less stress about having to, say, work at a day job you don’t like, feeling like you are draining your life away and counting the hours until you can leave. So, the intangible benefits of money that we are really after are 1. the feeling of security and safety, and 2. The freedom to do what we want with our time, and hence, our lives.
- Press and High End Exhibitions, or Acclaim: when we are written about in the press in glowing terms, or are included in an exhibition with well respected peers, or given a big solo show by a high end gallery, this translates into a feeling of respect. Respect for us, respect for our work, and it’s the world saying “Your work matters”. This feels good because we all want our work and lives to matter and to contribute positively to the world. So the payoff for acclaim is feeling worthy and respected.
It’s not bad to want to reach a level of success as an artist. All this means is that you are striving for security, freedom, and respect within your life—and to soar as high as you can go. Also consider how good can be done by successful people with a kind heart. If you have a lot of monetary success, fame, or acclaim, you have the power to donate money to great causes, and have a platform that people will listen to. Your art will be seen by many and so can inspire and give hope to many more people than if you were not well known. And, monetarily, you will not have to be dependent on others to care for you, instead you will be able to provide for yourself, your family, and future generations, which is a massive gift that truly changes lives.
You can also stand up to your fullest height and execute your most ambitious, creative visions because you have wealth and support, that would never happen if you were struggling.
So, when you find yourself feeling guilty for wanting to be successful as an artist, or feeling selfish for wanting the money and acclaim that come with success in the art world, check yourself! Because I would flip that script and say it is actually the most selfless thing you can do to pursue success in the arts, whatever that means to you.
Let me know how this landed with you, I’d love to hear from you. And just so you know, I will be launching my newly filmed and fully automated signature course, Artist Soul Mastery Academy, in March. You can join the waitlist now.
With light, love and creativity,