Are you a starving, angst-ridden, tortured-soul artist? Or maybe you just claim to be, because it makes you seem like a “real” artist? Here’s a fresh idea – to hell with all that.
“I think there’s a lot of romance attached to suffering, and I think that suffering has its beauty, but so does compassion and so does willingness to help others and so does being upright. There are many many qualities that can translate into good work.”
–Patti Smith (in this 2015 interview)
Think about it; Patti Smith is called the “foremother of punk” and has had a crazy life, but she’s still going strong at age 70, still performing and making new work, while also enjoying her kids and grandkids. Or take Paul Cézanne, who did not achieve success nor fame in his lifetime, but despite this frustration he persevered and painted right up till his deathbed, at the unusual age of 67 (quite old for that time period).
Our society loves to idolize those artists who have died young, but there are many successful and prolific artists who have lived long, eccentric and fulfilling lives. Living longer has given them the chance to experience the ups and downs, which only enriches and adds depth to their art form. Surviving is one thing, but thriving takes work, and care.
Perhaps it is time to give yourself permission to take care of yourself.
Think about it as a way to be more creative, productive and focused. Take breaks. Do something rejuvenating. Take a drive along the coast, read a book, go on a hike, play with your dog or your kids. Whatever it is that re-energizes you. Exercise, go to the doctor and, yes, “Wear sunscreen… [and] floss,” as suggested by Mary Schmich in her 1997 article “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” – which still holds up.
Regardless of your goals or ideas of success, wouldn’t you rather live a long life and be in the physical and mental shape to continue to create for as long as possible? Me too.
This is the first installment on a new series; stay tuned for Part 2.
Christine Rasmussen’s oil paintings explore themes of boundaries, belonging and femininity. Christine describes herself as a ‘global nomad’ – she was born to American parents in Pakistan, and has lived in 13 cities across Pakistan, Vietnam and the United States. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Art Practice (with Honors) and Peace & Conflict Studies. Her works are in private collections in the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia. Christine is now based in Los Angeles, CA, where she enjoys art, books and blogs.