When is an Artist an Artist?

As I was working today, a friend and collector stopped by my office.  I was excited to show her a publication that had written an article about me and my artwork in which one of the pieces she and her partner had purchased was featured.  As we were discussing this, she asked me a question that I have since been unable to get off my mind........."When does an artist know they have "made" it? After thinking for a few seconds, I blurted out, "when they can pay their bills with the sale of their work".  That seemed rational enough at the time; however, since then I have realized that it is so much more. Don't get me wrong, every artist that I know loves to get paid for what they do. I just wasn't sure that this is a true definition of making it. I started wondering and asking myself questions about what it means to me to have "made" it.  Is it winning awards for my artwork?  Seeing my name in a publication?  Being accepted into the next big show or gallery?  What does "making" it mean to me?  Everyone, whether they are an artist or a fireman, must ask themselves this question.  Without knowing where we are going how are we ever going to know when we have arrived?  Although, the answer will be different for everyone, it's incredibly important to know the truth about one's intentions, motivations, aspirations and vision.

For me, it's knowing that there is another piece inside just waiting to be born.  It's the heightened sense of of being "out of body" when I'm working on a piece, watching it come to fruition.  It's watching people connect with my work.  It's constantly looking for the next vision or piece of inspiration that can come in an instant in the oddest of places.  It's waking up, going to sleep and dreaming about my art.  It's the possibility of the next piece, the next show, the next road to beauty.  It's knowing that tomorrow, when I wake up, I have another opportunity to create.

If I am emanating from a place of authenticity, creating sheerly for the joy of creating, well, that's when I know I have arrived.

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