Life Will Make You Sick
Has your head ever been so full, so overflowing with ideas and sensations, that you feel it is completely necessary that you vomit it all out onto the page or canvas? If you are an artist, you will understand this inclination to release that full creative mind which ails us creative types so. If you are a true artist, life will make you sick. Sick in the guts and sick in the head. Our only method for maintaining our health, our only means of psychological cleansing, of emotional and spiritual catharsis, is done through working on our art. To write, paint, sculpt, film, sing, etc. is the only way an artist may breathe and continue to live.
If we do not set aside time and place for commitment to our work, we will suffer, we will suffocate, we will slowly wither up and disappear all together — in a word, we will die. If you are an artist, you will make the time and place for your art, whether that time and place be ideal or not. You will create no matter what the circumstances are. Whether you are poor, blind or maimed, does not matter. Your life depends on your commitment to your art.
It is only the artist, the visionary, the man or woman whom is truly alive, that life becomes an ailment to which there is no cure. The necessary medicine is a steady employment of creation. As for the living dead, the non-creative, the mediocre consumer, life does not bother or sicken him in the least. The artist suffers because he feels, he is receptive to his environment and corresponding states of mind, he is sensitive. The man without curiosity or wonder, without intellect, without a creative heart, is a zombie of futile society, and is as close to being dead as ever, and thus is insensitive. This somnambulist, semi-conscious man experiences less of the suffering, sickening life. However, he also experiences less of the beauty, less love, less art, less perspective, less fulfillment, and ultimately less life. To put this shortly, his ignorance is not bliss. It is merely a suffering of a much less refined sort that we artists experience on a regular basis.
Remember, dear artists, that if you are suffering, if you are being sickened by this life, it means you are alive. Revel in your consciousness! Be grateful for your billions of years of evolutionary heritage, be grateful for the complex electro-chemical neurological organ located within your cranium, for your bi-pedalism and your erect spinal column! Be grateful that you conscious of these facts, that you are conscious at all, that you are not a mere zombie of mediocrity, that you are not among the living dead in this life. Be grateful, throw caution to the wind, love your lovers, be god and master of your work, and never cease being a truly sickened individual. Breathe, be still and know. Create!
You can remain below middle-class existence, below the poverty line and still maintain a very rich creative life. One must only learn to do more with less. Sincerity is the most important quality an artist must possess in order to accomplish genuine works of art. Sincerity is at the very root of the artist’s heart. Sincerity, and the guts to do it.
It is true your artistic vision may suffer due to lack of funds and resources, but it does not mean your work altogether be abolished. If you are a perfectionist, and feel that you will not pursue any project without every possible material and thing your idealistic heart desires — then you will inevitably be living a very drab, non-creative, and unfulfilling existence indeed. If you are an artist, you will overcome these material obstacles, whatever they may be. You may create blind and maimed, ravaged and poor, but nonetheless, you will create.
Despite all limitations, you will defy them through your art! Consider your limitations a benefactor, even. These obstacles will narrow down your choices, thus making your job to create all the easier. As Orson Welles once observed, “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.”