3 Enemies of Art
Being an artist is hard work. Writer’s bloc, feeling uninspired, being rejected, failing to bring your concepts to reality, etc.. does any of that sound familiar? I love to sing, but developing my voice and learning to be a confident vocalist has always been a struggle for me. In fact, when I was in college, I would mentally psych myself out before performances to the point where I was physically ill. About two days before every performance I would have a sore throat, therefore I had an excuse if my singing wasn’t great. Natural talent and hard work weren’t enough for me to defeat the the 3 enemies of art. The 3 enemies of art take root in the soul with the purpose of manipulating the mind. When our minds are susceptible to the enemies of art our art is unable to flourish, making the hard work of art even harder.
Nothing kills opportunity faster than the enemy of assumption. We tend to assess opportunities with a pass/fail mindset. I’m too good for that… or I’m not good enough… When we make assumptions, we are making judgements based on assumed reality - not reality itself. How many times have you not applied for a job, not joined the club, not signed up to audition because you assumed you already knew the outcome? Take a chance and approach reality with an open mindset, ready to learn. You and your art will be better from every gained opportunity.
There are two aspects to be addressed when defeating the enemy of compromising integrity. The first is on a moral level. Art can be messy, unattractive, and confrontational, but art shouldn’t bring you to a place where you are compromising your moral integrity. “Genuine art is thus itself a response to the beauty of creation, which itself is a pointer to the beauty of God,” NT Wright. The second aspect we must confront is compromising the integrity of our art itself. Deadlines, paychecks, and critics pressure artists constantly to change or rush their art. Stick with your vision, stick with your gut, and stay true to the craft you have developed regardless of the pressure you are feeling.
Comparison is the enemy we hear at every conference and symposium on creativity. Honestly, it’s nearly impossible not to compare! There are times, I believe, comparison is a healthy thing. Here’s where it becomes our enemy: comparison can manipulate us into believing I’m not as good as...therefore I should just quit. There’s a difference between being a student of your craft and comparing your craft to someone else’s. My husband compares himself to Steve Lukather (Toto) in order to learn how to be a better guitarist, but he’s not at the same ability level as Steve Lukather. We should study other artists and learn from them. Compare your technique to theirs, but never let their level of achievement diminish your potential.