I read a quote today by Picasso that said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”
Whenever I think of maintaining a child’s outlook on life in-order to be a better artist I think of Walt Disney. You don’t have to know much about the art world to know who Walt Disney is. Reading through his story you find a man with a non-arrogant confidence in himself to achieve anything. The same confidence children have as they take their first steps or climb a tree. They haven’t experienced enough to think their is anything they can not do if they try hard enough. I think we all remember the bitter sting of the first time we failed. Everything is different after that moment, you are more reluctant to try new things at the risk of failing and feeling that pain again. You rather just stick to the things that you know you can do.
Luckily a natural talent doesn’t mean that you wont ever have to take a risk. A natural talent doesn’t even secure a fail free life. And to be a good artist, the type of artist that means something to the world, you have to continually jump off the cliff of uncertainty.
I once went to a lecture given by Emmet Gowin, a well known and respected photographer. As he was going through photo after beautiful photo he stopped and looked in to the crowd and said something along the lines of, I am showing you all the successful images but for every great image you see there are a 100 that just didn’t work.
Those words went straight to the core of my heart. There was hope. Despite what I thought and still struggle thinking, not every single photo I take needs to be worthy of the walls of MoMA. Not every drawing I do needs to rival that of da Vinci. I can fail. I can fail a lot. But there is going to be that one piece that will make failures bitter sting worth it. There is still hope that this grownup can be an artist.
Off to do some jumping.