Anonymous asked:

When would you tell an artist to give up on what they are doing even if it's they're lifelong dream? Would it be when it's clear they have no chance in hell of achieving it, don't have talent, or what?

oweeeeendennis answered:

I wouldn’t. That’s ridiculous, short sighted, and cruel.

What I would tell someone, if they were struggling and things weren’t working out, is to take a self-reflective look at why they’re struggling. There are a lot of questions you have to ask yourself about your work to make sure it’s the best work it can be. Here are only a few examples:

  • Why are you making artwork? Are you doing it to make money (hint: if you say yes, you’re going to fail)? Are you doing it because you love it?
  • What is driving you to make this work? Do you have an internal desire to create? Why? Is it because you have a need to see alien worlds? A need to see fantastical characters? A desire to show the mood you’re feeling when you look at a landscape? Do you hate your parents and you want to show those feelings to the world? Are you trying to challenge other people’s idea of what art even is? Are you trying to shock the world out of complacency by depicting an atrocity that is happening right under their nose? Do you just enjoy making cool mugs to drink out of?
  • What are your goals with your art? Do you want to become a world famous photographer? Do you want to do illustration work for magazines? Do you want a comic in the local paper? Do you despise the local paper and want your comic in some weird indie magazine about the punk scene? Do you want to own your own gallery where you can put up your own art, but also have other artists join in? Do you want to do character design for a television show? Do you want to do costume design for a movie? Do you want to see your work being worn by people at ren fairs?
  • Who are you making this for? Are you making it for someone else? Are you making it for yourself? If you’re making work for others, are you making it for the right people? What is the market for your work? Who would buy the sort of thing that you’re making? Are you making things that you yourself can be proud of and enjoy making and that it’s something those people would want? Are you making it for people who would actually appreciate what you’ve made?
  • To whom are you comparing yourself? Are you a 16 year old kid who’s been drawing since they were two comparing themselves to a 46 year old person who’s been drawing since they were two? Are you comparing your sketches and napkin drawings to someone else’s finished work?
  • Where are you selling your work? Are you in a trailer on a ranch in Kansas selling artwork off your porch and wondering why people aren’t buying oil paintings of fairies? Are you growing up in the most conservative district in Minnesota and annoyed that people aren’t into your pictures of robots? (I’ve been there…)
  • Where are you making your work? Is it in a safe environment that is conducive to making art or is it the school cafeteria where people call you a fag and a loner for drawing in the corner?
  • How are you working on it? Do you stop working on it before it’s done and move on to some other idea or piece? Are you not even finishing the art that you have?
  • How are you advertising your art? Are you ever actually taking the time to go out and try to sell your work and show it to people or are you hoping that one day someone is just going to walk up to you and somehow know that you make amazing art and you should be famous?
  • When are you spending the time to make your art? When are you practicing? Are you doing it at night for 5-10 minutes before bed? Are you making art once a month? Are you drawing every day? Are you doodling half a doodle and then wondering why your stuff isn’t looking better? Are you taking classes? Are you taking the time to draw from life? Are you reading books about art? Are you reading tutorials by your favorite artists? Are you a part of any local art community to help you improve? What are you doing to be proactive about your work?

So all in all, I wouldn’t tell someone to give up, but I certainly would tell someone to be realistic about their goals. If you’re someone who is sitting at home, not drawing every day, not putting their all into improving their work, and hoping that maybe someday someone will notice your art on deviant art and try to hire you, I’d say you’re being extremely unrealistic. However, I’ve never met someone who did all the work to achieve success in their art, that hasn’t achieved some level of it.

It’s extremely hard work. You can go ahead and try to give up, but you won’t be able to because you’re an artist. You’re gonna keep making shit no matter what. So you might as well figure out what the problems are so you can fix them and start doing something about it. I mean what’s better for your life overall? Taking a little time to be self-reflective, critical, and proactive now, or wallowing in self-pity and hoping it’ll all work out somehow?