14 Things a Real Artist Does

As artists we are constantly struggling to find our way. It's really easier than we think though. This podcast covers the different traits you need to embody to become a well rounded artist. Committing to the process and enjoying that process.

  1. They constantly create & stay committed to the process - All great artists constantly make art in an effort to achieve mastery. Mastery only comes through practice and process. There are no shortcuts. A true artist wakes up everyday, let's go and commits to creating something. It could be large or small. The bottom line is they commit to the process of creating and do it consistently.
  2. They understand the difference between Art and Product - Most art you will create will fall on deaf ears. Much of your art may not even be appreciated in your lifetime because you may be that far ahead of your time. Product is Art that resonates with a particular segment of the public willing to pay for it. This could range from commissions to hit songs. Whatever the case Art is something that you are creating as a result of your process and product is art that is created for commerce or monetized in some way. The takeaway here is that if your art does not generate income, that does not negate its relevance or importance, it just doesn't become "product" for which people will buy. Many pop and rap artists are creating product for the marketplace that is almost entirely product centered. A lot of times these are not even pure artistic expressions. To go further, it could be said that Product is not art at all but perceived art. There are many songs we hear that are not pure artistic expressions, they are merely product, misclassifed as art. 
  3. They do not worry about how people perceive their art, only entertain and focus on their fans and understand that true art may cause societal backlash - A real artist creates and releases art he or she is satisfied with. At that point they may even develop a fanbase for their work, because if they are satisfied with their work, then other people may be as well. If you are creating artwork that is provocative, it may even cause societal backlash. Whatever the case, the real artist creates from a position of purity, allows their soul to speak through their work and does not worry about the impact their work will make whether negative or positive. It is their creation. They also have enough experience and insight to know that naysayers and non supporters are entitled to their opinion, they are not entitled to the artist's attention, espeically if they are not a fan or contributing to their work financially. Because of this, the real artist only focuses on fans of their work and only pays attention to those individuals. 
  4. They experiment with a variety of mediums - Michaelangelo was originally a sculptor. Through his process he developed a fanbase which ultimately commissioned him to experiment in other areas such as painting. While not originally a painting, he was able to create masterful works of art in this area because he allowed himself to experiment with that medium. Working with other mediums only makes the real artist stronger, because it allows them to create a distinct identity and cross pollinate the influences they received from one medium to another. 
  5. They study other Master Artists and create art that is unique to them, based on the influence of these masters. - As a guitar player and entertainer, I am always watching videos and learning licks and techniques of other masters so that I can incorporate them into my work. This is a form of self-directed apprenticeship. I also read books by great entreprenuers because this form of mastery allows me to apply their lessons to other areas of life and ultmiately only make me a more well rounded artist. 
  6. They understand that the rules of Art are not confined to the physical plane and do not comply with the rules of that plane. - Art can be alot of things including provactive, contradictory, disturbing, enlightening, positive, negative and everything in between. The real artist recognizes that in an image and status quo bassed society much of their work will come under fire because society or individuals are trying to apply a physical set of rules and parameters to a spiritual world which does not operate by those parameters. Because of this the real artist refuses to accept anything but their own truth and follows that truth ruthlessly. 
  7. They are constantly changing and evolving - Society and the rise of social media has conditioned people to put themselves in boxes. Reinvention has become impossible and your past actions are forever chained to your current self. This is a societal construct that is rejected by the real artist because they understand as sentient beings that we are always changing. To "never change" or always be the same is poison to be avoided. While an artist may chose to focus on a specific direction from time to time, at any time they do not fear moving to the next evolution of their person and welcome it openly. 
  8. They guard their souls from the influence of others - This plays into points 6 and 7. People, society, corporations and governments are constantly trying to influence our reality. There is inherant danger in this because when we allow other peoples beliefs and desires that do not sync up with our own we start to lose our identity as a result of their desire to have us comply with their reality. The real artist only allows thoughts and values that align with his same thoughts or values to be incorporated into their lives. While people are entitled to their own opinions of us, they are not entitled to their own desires for us. This is why the artist relentelessly guards their soul from these influences. 
  9. They minimize distractions in their life that interfere with their abilities to create - Distractions are the ether's attempts to knock you off your true path. They can include a variety of things such as people i.e. girls, boys, wives and kids, they can include the obsession with or focusing on non essential activities that "must be" complete before you start to work on your art. I have been guilty of this so many times. Buying new cars, traveling constantly, working on my house instead of my art. Clutter, Social media, the list goes on and on. These are all distractions. Focusing on saving money as opposed to reducing distractions and increasing artistic output. Conferences, seminars, industry and "networking" events that do not make you a better artist. 
  10. They make art that scares them - There is an angel and  a devil that lives inside of all of us. The real artist understands this and feeds both of them to maintain balance. While they may make art that is positive in nature, they will also create art that is scary and opens up the dark part of their personality they did not even know they had. By doing this, it allows them to exercise these thoughts and emotions within them that always reside or grow larger if they are not addressed. It is an exorcism. Many people turn to even more negative activities such as drug and alcohol abuse because they do not know how to effectively channel these emotions. A real artist faces the bull, slays it and put its head on display as a message to future negative emotions that he or she knows how to deal with those emotions in a positive way to maintain balance. 
  11. They usually do not comply with existing orders, movements or fads - Most art we see is product and a majority of society does not accept the radical or innovative.  While this is not universal for all artists, I am definitely in the class that rejects the existing order and all movements and fads that are created within this order. This includes pop artists that all sound the same or using certain terminology or dablike dances and movements. If the artist does not believe it, he does not practice or comply with it.
  12. They understand the finality of time - They understand that ultimately all we have is time and since most people are not paying attention to what we are doing anyways, the best thing we can do is create. It makes us happy and it has the potential to influence the world in a positive way. Because of this the artist understands it is his or her job to produce content with as much time as they have left. 
  13. They can be totally "unpredictable" - Real artists do things that might be considered "crazy" or outside the norm in an effort to deepen their art. I drove a camper all the way through Mexico in an effort to get away from the American noise and put myself in a new environment that was totally alien to me. Some of my "friends" thought this was manic and unpredictable. In reality, it was all part of my own personal and artistic plan and it worked out semi-exactly as planned. Rapid changes or perceived changes in trajectory are healthy. You should always commit to your work and your goals. Your strategy should be flexible. I'm sure someone would have preferred the spotter or captain on the Titanic to be unpredictable, don't you?
  14. They subject themselves to new experiences - While many artists may be reclusive or "unpredictable" at times this does not mean they are not subjecting themselves to new experiences. I once never left my house for a few weeks besides for food and all I did was read books. One other time I logged onto a website called Half Life and played this game somebody told me about which was a digital world where people ironically could be anyone they wanted to be. These experiences were new for me. A new experience is not strictly confined to eating at an Indian Food restaurant you have never been to or participating in an Ayuasca ceremony in Peru. It really can be anything under the sun, just so long as it is new to you and allows you the opportunity to grow mentally, spiritually or physically.