The State of The Artist # 4

by Marvin Kanarek

I was going to do something else right now. I was outside having a smoke. Something came in again. So I’m sitting here getting it out before it goes away. Three words:

– Sacrifice, Selfishness, Balance.

When that “moment arrives” it’s only you tapping into and following that energy (Muse?), before it disappears. All else becomes peripheral. All else disappears. It becomes a one man / one woman journey, fired by the fuel of the Muse. Like a free lance who can’t predict when the next job or project comes in, one has to be immediately available when it arrives. If not, you lose it. The same applies here. There is therefore an element of sacrifice. The hours you could have spent with your loved one, a best friend becomes an impossibility unless you are willing to let The Muse go away. So sacrifice is one of the conditions.

It seems as if sacrifice and selfishness are profoundly connected in this process. It is an event that only you and The Muse share. Everything and everyone else is excluded. Again, one can elect to walk away from that moment. I am too weak. I need to be available when that unpredictable opportunity knocks at my soul’s door. So selfishness is a component element.

Balance? Interesting. We are human beings with needs. Unless you live alone on a mountaintop, there are real life issues and problems to take care of. Food, shelter, health insurance (I live in the USA!), rent/mortgage/car payments. Supplies, music gear and accessories, clothes, entertainment. All things necessary in modern life. How can one balance between the obsessive act of creation/expression and survival? Does one work at a job, if they’re still out there, to support your art?

Do you just work enough to get by in order to fuel the art?… Do you make the ultimate sacrifice by reducing your life necessities to bare survival level in order to concentrate entirely on this obsession? As of this writing, I don’t have the answer. As of this writing, I know that I have done all of the above. I have been religiously selfish. Have made many sacrifices, both financially and relationships wise. As of this writing I do know one thing for sure. This applies to my own personal experience and journey. Having something to “fall back on” introduces the element of “comfort” that will and does suck the life out of the sense of creation. Comfort will kill “The Muse”. I know I would “asleep at the wheel” if I lived comfortably. I don’t want to suffer for my Art. I think that’s a bullshit romantic perspective that exists in the realm of urban myth and movies.

I don’t think any artist struck out and followed The Muse to live a life of suffering. So Balance has become a very important word/component of The State of The Artist. A phrase was just tossed to me. “Body Of Work”… And again if anyone ends up reading these ramblings, sorry for typos, side trips etc… It’s being written as it’s being delivered to me… Later

The State of the Artist

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7