[Blog] No One Chooses To Be An Artist

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No matter the medium they’re deciding to dabble in, I can’t help but find it slightly comical every time someone declares that they want to be an artist.

It’s become a subtle way of chasing fame and fortune while still maintaining some element of depth. They can bask in the glory of narcissism and boast proudly under the guise of substance. Which is obviously much more dignified than merely being an instagram model. And I resent that something so innate for me has been reduced to just another career path anyone can choose.

But then I remember… that it isn’t. And even if it was, no one would willingly choose a path that has been proven to pan out tragically almost every single time. Just show me your favorite artist and I’ll show you a calamity.

You see, I don’t just feel compelled to self express, I’m downright tormented by the urge. And it is not fun. Or prestigious. Or even worth it.

The work itself is the easiest part. It’s the suffering I’m obliged to dive head first into that sucks. As a writer, I’ve been given quite the fortunate life. Unlike Bukowski, I never sought hardship and adventure to write about – it was just given to me. But I still need to feel it all. I don’t run from the extreme ends of my emotional spectrum, I go towards them. I embrace adversity, heartache and grief with open arms because an artist is just the sum of their experiences so the more, the merrier.

It’s a subconscious act, of course, because doesn’t my style of writing conflict with my belief in the law of attraction? I feel compelled to write my darkness but doesn’t that act in itself evoke more? However, even when I acknowledge that no writing ever done is worth being at the mercy of my emotions and refuse to participate in this self sabotage any longer, it is still at my very core.

And that’s what I think separates us from the folks just looking for an aristocratic hobby to disguise their narcissism with. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from studying all of the creatives I admire, it’s that we all do it. We refuse to deprive ourselves of any experience, no matter how much it might hurt us. We are compelled by our pain and chase any thrill that may ignite it. We are slaves to confronting ourselves . No one with any common sense would choose this.

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  • Aaron Williams

    I think you’ll find in time that shallowness just doesn’t last. This is true across the vast spectrum of artistry, self-expression, and hell even life itself. Those who have a true story to tell will connect with others on a deeper level and resonate with them more than those who are barely scratching the surface. If I could use rap for example; we’ve had thousands of rappers come and go who, in their time, only spoke on the cliches of the genre, but those who brought something more to the table are either still around, respected, or cemented in society. You’re right, a true artists doesn’t fear the dark they run towards it. Real artist go through it because they know they can get through it, and when you come back from the war you have a story to tell to the people in which you serve.
    I honestly mean this when I say: a real artist makes people feel something. The struggles you internalize just so happen to be your pen and it’s your job as the artist to create for the world.
    Those who fake it won’t be able to keep up.

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  • Toya Alejandra Dorsey

    Hey Alexis… totally just came across your YouTube channel and I have to say that your insight is so raw and relatable. I am a mixed person who has been walking through life CONSTANTLY explaining to ppl, sometimes strangers, “what I am”. I’ve been through a ton of crap in life surrouding my heritage and my family’s history and I can remember being a kid and just being drawn to poetry and self expression, but totally agonizing over it. This feeling of being “unseen” was something I understood all too well as young as the age of 5. But somehow that invisibility has caused to avoid expressing myself at all costs and just be invisible. So 10 years has passed me by and you just helped me realize with this post… that the urge to create and express my anger, sadness, in deference has never disappeared but I have been suffering And suffocating who I am all this time. Can’t even explain how I feel although I think I just did lol. I’m 31 now with 3 babies. I have a daughter who is me in every sense and she is truly a natural artist who is always wanting to find ways to express herself and I find myself stifling her work at times and she’s only 9. I definitely needed to wake up and allow myself to feel inspired and in turn ensure that her light shines always. Thank you so much for just being yourself so unapologetically.

    [Reply]

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