Recently, an art consultant asked his numerous artist followers on social media why they think some artists succeed and others do not. Hundreds of answers poured in, and as I scrolled through them, one thing became so apparent; artists suffer from severe status anxiety.
There is an intense amount of competition in the art world. But to succeed, according to many, means that you have been blessed in all ways except the actual art-making. Apparently, one must possess many or all of specific characteristics such as; a naturally charismatic personality, very wealthy parents, easy access to top universities where your sex appeal and persuasion garnered you top grades and attention, to have been born in Manhattan and live there rent-free, etc., etc. You get the picture.
The consultant kept responding by asking these jaded artists the same question over and over; “what about the art? doesn’t the art they make have anything to do with their success?”
I think it is only natural to have these competition struggles, but I was surprised at how superficial and odd it seemed once you can see so many brief and desperate answers all in one place, like looking at the data from a survey. It was a reality check — no need to wallow in self-pity and jealousy. That is your biggest setback.
The art one makes is the most important thing. It is its own reward.