Oblivion: Tragedy Of The Art

A few days ago, I read a message written by an old friend in a social media group that read, "I have a desire to make animations but the reality is harsh, after finishing animation I feel like I wasted my time". I felt really bad, because the guy is really good, and I think very underrated. But in a way, I understand why he would say that, because I also used to feel that way for a while. I may not know exactly why he was feeling that way, but with me, my biggest problem was that I was creating content for myself and not for anyone else, and yet when people didn't give my work the reaction I expected I felt awful. The funny thing is that even when my first animated story got over 150K views (combined from 2 YouTube accounts), I still felt bad. I wasn't happy, and I wasn't satisfied for many different reasons, I think. But the biggest reason was that my life wasn't changed a bit by the views or compliments.

All that changed when I decided to start doing stuff for people, even if it was for cents. Seeing people pay for my work made it worth it. For me that represented worth... and I'm not talking about the money, but getting paid. For the first time when someone said, "this is beautiful, thank you", I felt really good inside because I knew they meant it, because they were not just another friend getting a freebie, but a stranger who didn't actually need to stroke my ego, especially knowing that they were paying for the work.

A week ago (I think), I asked people in the same social media group whether animation was a job or a hobby to them, and those who answered accordingly said it's a job. That was for a mini research of mine. But what I've observed is that generally people wanna make a living doing what they love, otherwise you end up miserable. And if we are to follow the money making route, we need to be prepared to start from the bottom working ourselves up. Consequences of a small pay are generally less than those of a big contract. So you need to learn how things work first while working on small jobs, and then increase your value with increased knowledge of both the trade and business.

I'm saying all this because I've observed frequent conversations among artists, where they talk about how they wouldn't take a less paying job or work for free because their work is "supposedly" worth more than that. What many artists fail to understand is that not everyone is Van Gogh, and not every art work is worth the price of Mona Lisa, otherwise all the kids in preschool would be tycoons. Reality is that if we were, as artists, to have that kind of expectations then we should probably be the ones back in kindergarten, because clearly we would be too naive for this kind of business.

This is why I agree with one fellow artist who argues that artists should grow their business skills as they grow their craft, otherwise they're simply setting themselves up for failure. In conclusion, to truly enjoy what you love you need to nurture your relationship with it, and you do that by setting up what you love to take care of you. And that kids, is how you stay passionate and inspired to do what you love. After all, every relationship should be mutually beneficial, and so should your relationship with passion or talent.