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Sunday, February 06, 2011



So I've been reading this book called "Drawing the Line" from the Comics Journal Library. I bought it because it has art and interviews with Raph Steadman, David Levine, Jules Feiffer and Edward Sorel, all of whom I admire, artwise. One of them -- I can't even remember which one -- at one point describes what it's like to do what he does. (Or, perhaps, did. Levine is dead. Don't know about Sorel.)

Anyway, he talked about how he would finish a drawing, be pleased with it, feel lighthearted and good about his work, and then pretty quickly the doubts and self-loathing would creep in again. I'm paraphrasing here, but the gist is right.

People who decide to go into the arts with the idea that it's a more fun way to make a living than, say, doing telemarketing or digging ditches are, I'm quite sure, correct. It IS more fun. I'm sure.
But it isn't easier, emotionally. It's just a different kind of hard. Do lawyers and bartenders and teachers and dentists go to work every day and vacillate between, "I'm a genius!" and "Good god, I am the least gifted person who has ever earned a nickel from this gig"?

I think not. But if you are a lawyer or a teacher or a bartender and you'd like to set me straight, I'd be fascinated to hear what you have to say. Meantime, the artists and the writers and the poets and composers, the stand-up comics and (perhaps) the dancers and the actors -- they all know what I'm talking about.

3 comments:

honey said...

well said and brilliantly illustrated.

Marcie said...

Oh...don't I know EXACTLY what you're talking about here! As Honey said - brilliant!!!

Kay said...

Oh yes..you are so right. All that second guessing makes an artist cranky.Someone..an artist said that the arts are the only professions that you turn yourself inside out and reveal your vulnerabilities for anyone to criticize. I have a semi-thick skin but it isn't thick enough. I am my own worse enemy!