a larger question might be: what IS success? having name recognition? wealth? as a species, it is simply surviving. as an artist, who knows....making a living wage? teaching others? or just being content to use your hands?
making art is kind of its own perpetual battle and, ultimately, one that never should have been measured by "success" anyway. so in its purest form it must be a personal journey of creation and discovery, reflection and therapy, which can be equally fulfilling and frustrating.
pushing 50 and having tried a variety of art avenues, most of what i have wanted artistically has not come easily or sometimes at all. there is the occasional coup but i have never really "fit" anywhere for too long and have envied other artists who always knew exactly where they were to go. for me, personal "success" has always had an asterisk next to it.
conversely, i never planned or strove to be a production artist. as a legitimate career path, perhaps it's kinda like a recording or touring musician- there is a skill set and practice every day to expand a knowledge base, but it mostly feels like a gig. i do like it...but there is a little bit of a disconnect. during, i spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about what personal projects to do or how to use my new found techniques elsewhere. and yet, with limited investment, new opportunities keep rolling in all the time for me in this industry. in the past few years it has taken me far across the globe and into situations with major clients that, had i been grooming for this my whole life, i'd probably be much more freaked out about....but since i haven't, i'm not. it just flows. and when i step back, i realize i get to PLAY a lot of the time. so, perhaps not burdening yourself with expectation is the secret. or maybe just appreciating where you are.
on that note, just this week i started a new project that has me doing more fur/silicone painting and hair poking than i've ever done. to gain some practice i just started messing around on an old winston churchill head that happened to be laying in the shop (not unheard of at my place). so, now there is this jowly, english wolf man in the name of exploration. hey, here he is now........
this meditation is all relative in the end- definitions we put on ourselves of how or if we find our way. maybe success is for someone else to decide or more dependent on our own measures of happiness...but maybe there is a takeaway message too: try not to struggle and worry about rejection and perhaps some other natural results will begin to emerge that benefit you.
just do it? if it's good enough for a shoe, it's good enough for you- that is the message to myself too, because i forget that.
anyway, since i'm not permitted to talk about what this horrible hybrid is for just yet i guess i could briefly mention the graphic novel (or, an illustrated art book, if you will) that two fellow artists and i are currently all kinds of steeped in. like, "writing grant applications and plotting research trips" steeped in. so if you've been wondering where i fell off to, it's parts unknown, a graphic novel about the writer lafcadio hearn (see previous entry), and punching hairs on a winston churchill wolf man. however, consuming as these pursuits are, i don't think we can say any of it is currently successful-and i'm fine with that.