As an aspiring artist I find that you need to be really and truly dedicated to what you do to have any hope of getting where you want to be. But what does that actually mean? Personally I like the word dedication and I’m sure I’m not alone to think how important dedication and being dedicated is.
As someone who’s first language isn’t English and to some native speaker as well I’m sure, you sometimes think you know what a word means; but if asked to explain the meaning of the word though find a certain lack of words. I think this is quite natural with a language such as English with it’s vast vocabulary and every so often i like to look up words to see if I know their true meaning or otherwise educate myself.
Dedication: “The quality of being dedicated or committed to a task or purpose”
I was quite surprised when I found this definition, to me it didn’t seem to include the full scope of the meaning of the word. However if we instead look at “dedicated”
Devoted to a task or purpose. Exclusively allocated to or intended for a particular purpose.
Now this seems more like it. I think that anyone who has a passion or a dream, be it football, ballet, poetry or art will be able to relate to this. And anyone who knows a person like this should read this if they want to understand them better. This also applies if your passion is dentistry or accountancy, but for someone who does or want to do acting, dancing, art or any other non typical occupation this is on a different level.
For someone who wants to be a programmer or a lawyer I’m not saying it will be easy, I’m sure that it is, it’s own type of struggle. But at the end of the day once you have educated yourself, be it at a prestigious university or years and years of evening and weekend courses, there is always the possibility to eventually get employment doing what you like.
As an artist however whether you studied for years or happen to be naturally talented the likelihood of getting employed as an artist is minuscule. When i say artist just to be clear, I mean someone who paints paintings or sculpts sculptures. I don’t mean someone who does graphic design that can work for a advertisement company or the person who illustrates for books, even though these are likely highly competitive.
As an artist there are two main choices; get employment and have an income until your art work can sustain you or live as a poor artist doing art and struggling to get by until hopefully you are able to sustain yourself. Actually there is also option three: have a wealthy family, partner or patron who supports you so you can fully focus on art… how ever this doesn’t apply to most people.
So after what seems like the most long winded way possible; anyone who chose option one like myself, its not easy.
The sheer amount of will power it sometimes takes to sit down and work on your art after you come home from a long day at work, with half the week still to go, when all you want to do is to relax a bit before going to bed. When you have to say no to going out with friends to perfect the design. When you try to explain that just because you aren’t at work doesn’t mean you aren’t working. When you spend your lunch break, the transit time to and from work sketching and making notes. When you miss the person you like but have to keep on going.
That is dedication to me.
I love making art so for me it’s a price I’m happy to pay.