Get into a scene

I have a nurture goal of being a working artist. Nurture goals are ones you never achieve but are always working at. I won't hit the goal of working artist one day and then be able to close the door on that. I have to work on art every day if I want to be a working artist.

So, I have this nurture goal.

For many people being a working artist would mean that you are making money at the art. This uses the very capitalistic definition of working

Mental or physical activity as a means of earning income; employment.

But I use working to in the DO WORK sense

A thing or things done or made

To be a working artist is to do or make something every day. With that definition in mind, my nurture goal is within my grasp and is something that provides value to my life. Providing value to my life is The Metric I use when evaluating anything in my life.

But every so often I get distracted. I let the idea of getting better and making money at it take over. I start to think that I should let this thing consume me fully so I can then make money at it so I can then rise to the top of the field and on and on. Social media allows you to believe that celebrity is within your grasp and all you need to do is make art and post it online.

I heard the idea of if you want to be a working artist - working as in make money - you are going to need to join a scene. Being a successful working artist in the monetary sense is more about who you know and who can promote your work versus the work you can create.

I can see that. I see lots of illustrators online and then I know people who illustrate. I see no appreciable difference in the work they are doing except that one artist is part of a scene of working artists who can boost each other up and the other is not. Both may befine themselves as working artists but only one is willing to put the same amount of effort into the scene they are in as they are into the art. That helps to convert from working for The Work artist to working for the money artist.

I don't begrudge anyone whichever one they want to be. But exploring this idea helps me remember that I want to be a working artist in the do work sense. It helps free my mind from the stress of the idea that I am not in the right scene, I don't know the right people, etc.

I can just focus on The Work.

The Safety Brain


The Safety Brain

Also a regular brain.

One of my dreams on my list of 10 dreams right now is to be a working artist. I spent some time writing (cause that is how I organize myself) on what that means. I came to a solid working definition of how I would like if I was a working artist. It goes like this.

I, more days than not, create something that people will experience that will cause them to feel something.
— Me

Writing this blog meets my expectations of a working artist. Even if you hate what I write you will feel something! This dream will evolve beyond this current definition, but I left it open and achievable to get around my safety brain.

What is a safety brain you ask? Well it isn’t another brain - its your brain in safety mode. It does this alot because the brain is wired to keep us safe. Any changes to routine, chances of failure, risks to life and limb and your safety brain goes into overdrive trying to change your mind (itself? see its complicated) and get you NOT TO DO THAT.

When I wrote the working artist definition I felt that what was missing was the “what” i was going to create. That is where my safety brain can trip me up and put me in a vicious loop. There are so many things I can create, so many things I am interested in. Illustration and drawing for example - see my brain drawing above! By having so many interests it means I never have to choose. By definition there is no right, no safe choice I can make that will keep me away from failure and heartache. So my safety brain works double time on this because whatever I decide to do or try I am not immediately good. My brain then says to pick something else. Then something else. Then something else. And I am never a working artist. I don’t need to do that, I need to circumvent my safety brain and give myself a chance to do something.

My safety brain also likes to focus on production and by extension "my worth as a human" as it relates to what I produce. How could I ever give myself time to learn something when my worthiness is tied to output! Its the final product not the journey! No safety brain its not.

These are the hurdles I need to cross as I work towards the goal of being a working artist. Ultimately whatever I pick my safety brain will say, and I quote:

NO! Don’t do that you aren’t good at it, pick something else!”
”STOP! You aren’t producing enough - you are worthless.”
— Safety Brain

Ah the safety brain. Can’t live with it but sometimes you might die without it.

As Seth Godin says - Just Ship It,