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Triumph and Tumble, Artist to Artist

Updated: Jan 21

Triumph and Tumble, Artist to Artist

Embracing the opportunity to learn from both successes and setbacks. 

Ah, the artist's life. It is a symphony of soaring highs and gut-wrenching lows, where masterpieces brush shoulders with burnt offerings, and every brushstroke is a gamble with the fickle muse. We chase validation, yearn for recognition, and dream of seeing our work bathe in the golden light of success. Yet, nestled in the folds of this artistic fabric lies a truth rarely whispered in hushed gallery corners: learning blooms not just in the fertile soil of victory but in the scorched earth of defeat.

I am a champion of self-discovery, and I invite you, dear artist, to shed the suffocating cloak of perfectionism. Let's peel back the layers, expose the tender flesh of our vulnerabilities, and embrace the lessons that lie dormant in both the triumphant roar and the agonizing whimper of our creative journeys.

The Triumphant Roar

The velvet touch of validation: We bask in the sunbeam of a well-placed critique, a sold-out exhibition, or the thunderous applause at a solo show. These are moments etched in gold, reminders that our Art resonates, moves, and inspires. Yet, let's not let this siren song lull us into complacency. The danger of the roar lies in its seductive whisper: "You've arrived. Rest on your laurels."

Artists resist the urge to stagnate. Use this triumph ". . .as a springboard, not a hammock." (Ivern Ball, writer) Let it fuel your curiosity and drive to explore uncharted territories within your artistic universe.

The Agonizing Whimper 

The grit of failure: The silence in a gallery, the sting of rejection, the cruel laughter of a blank page. These are the shadows that haunt the artist's studio, the whispers of "not good enough" echoing in the hollow halls of our minds. But in this darkness, dear artist lies a potent alchemy. Like a bitter tonic, failure forces us to confront our weaknesses, re-evaluate our approach, dig deep, and unearth the hidden reserves of resilience. In this crucible, innovation is forged, new perspectives emerge, and our artistic voice gains a deeper, more nuanced resonance.

So, artists, let's move with the duality of our creative lives. Let the roar remind us of our potential, but not a prison that binds us. Let the whimper be a teacher, a guide on the path to artistic evolution. Remember, every misstep is a step closer to the masterpiece, every rejection a brushstroke towards a new masterpiece.

Embrace the lessons in the light and the shadows, for it is in the move of both that the true artist emerges.

My experience: The curtain call never seemed to land on my name—four plays, four close calls (it was down to me and another actor for the lead) but always the role went to a sunlit ingénue. I suppose I wasn't cut from the dewy rosebud cloth; my bones whispered character work while theirs hummed with ingénue grace. It wouldn't be entirely ungallant to call it predictable, yet each "not this time, darling" tasted of bittersweet tea leaves.

In one particularly theatrical turn of events, I was whisked from the wings to center stage, assured I'd be the beating heart of the production. Then, after a single breathless read-through, the whispers commenced. My "vibrant complexity" (such a kind way of saying "doesn't quite blend") clashed, it seemed, with the company's sun-kissed palette. So, I stepped back into the shadows with a shrug and a rueful smile.

That's when the script shifted, artist. I swapped audition monologues for blank pages, the stage lights replaced by the soft glow of a desk lamp. My characters, no longer confined by casting sheets, sprang to life on the page, each quirk and contradiction meticulously inked.

It was challenging, this solo act - creating my own performance opportunities. Doubt was a persistent understudy, and rejections still danced along the margins. But with each word, I built a stage where the spotlight was mine, where complexity wasn't a clash but a symphony. So yes, those ingénue roles still flicker in memory, a bittersweet montage of "almosts." But wouldn't you know it? I wouldn't trade this self-written play for any “you got the role.”

Art's Ecosystem 

Tracking Art Intake: Remember, artist, the creative journey is not a solitary climb but a vibrant ecosystem. We breathe in inspiration, exhale our work, and, in turn, fuel the artistic fire of others. This is why tracking your Art In = Art Out becomes crucial.

Notice what ignites your creative spark, what makes your heart sing, and what challenges your perspective. Keep a journal, curate an "inspiration folder," or savor the moments when another artist's work touches your soul. By actively engaging with Art, you become a more conscious creator, your journey enriched by the tapestry of others' stories.

Your Art Pal,


P.S. Share your triumphs and your tumbles, artists! Let's learn from each other, support each other, and celebrate the beautiful, messy, and exhilarating journey that is our Art.

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