Published on December 5, 2023 by Noah Bradley
“Don’t work too hard.”
“You don’t have to work all day, every day.”
“You’re still an artist even if you’re not making art.”
I’m not saying any of these are wrong. In many ways, I absolutely agree with them. But there is a destructive undertone to these messages.
The reality is that you don’t have to work hard. You don’t have to practice all the time. You don’t have to produce a lot of art. All of these things are optional.
But being a great artist is also optional.
For those who want to succeed, to stand out in the increasingly flooded world of art online: you will have to surpass your peers. Not all of them. But enough of them to rise up the pyramid a bit and claim some of the attention.
To be remarkable, you will usually have to put in remarkable effort.
Sure, once you have achieved phenomenal skill and success, you can usually chill a bit. And it is usually the incredibly successful who give this advice—but it is rarely the lifestyle they had to get where they are today.
But again: you don’t have to work hard. I understand everyone who doesn’t want to sacrifice work/life balance to become a great artist. I get it. I even encourage it—I think more people would be a lot happier if they never tried to be “professional” at all of this. No matter what you pick: be sure your expectations align with your efforts.