Somewhere I picked up the idea that an artist needs to acquire, develop, or create a technique, style, or niche that is unique and particularly theirs. I think it is true regarding commercial success, but it may also be equally true for commercial failure, i.e. what one prefers instead of many. It is undisputed that most artists irrespective of their genre or device do not generate significant income, except for a very small percentage who may achieve great notoriety or commercial success. It is my belief that these unusually “successful” artists distort the entire field of endeavor for many others. In support of this I will offer child’s art that is so often admired and emulated. Old time furniture design is currently very popular, but has its origins on the family farm. The multitude of one hit wonders also testify to this regarding musicians.
Here is the truth, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10: 12). Nothing can compare with God, so do your art as unto Him. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3: 23-24).
This is not to say that we cannot learn and advance in our skill and technique, we can and should. Nor does it suggest there is no process of searching, practice, period(s) of waiting, and/or working without seeing an immediate return. Our entire live is, after all, a journey. This is no formula or comparison that will lead you to your goal. Even seeking to mimic the “success” of others is a diversion from the path that will lead to your destiny. Are we trying to make money, or are we trying to find our most sincere and true expression in art?
When I was in sales, I was very successful, but not because I was most well suited, glib of speech, handsome, or congenial, but because I was following the path appointed to me by the Lord and His paths are always filled with purpose. Lay hold of your purpose in the Lord and you will find energy, motivation, inspiration, perseverance, joy in your work and peace that is unlimited and beyond description. When your desire for money and fame evaporate like a brief shower on a blistering hot summer day, your purpose will hold you and cause you to stand against adversity, taunts and what seems like utter failure, until mercy drops down releasing an overflowing chorus of praise, thanksgiving and reassurance that God’s lovingkindness is everlasting.