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Failure as an art form

What can we learn about failure from the life of the starving artist?

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Pixabay
Pixabay

We’ve all heard about the life of the ‘starving artist’, in the beginning he bleeds with life’s passion. And his eternal desire for his work to be recognised, drives him into an unequivocal need to paint, write, produce, prose and act.

What can we learn about failure, from the life of the starving artist though? He leads with blind faith from the universe. He trusts that his gifts will take him into a career of success. An artist leads and lives his life through his heart centre, he knows or intuitively thinks that what he is doing is a gift. And this gift fills his heart, brings him joy and creativity, but most of all, a love for what he is doing. A writer can’t help but write, a painter can’t help but paint. They do it because they have to, they need to. It’s a thirst that has to be quenched.

Where would we be without the artist? We’d live a life without the beauty of music, the emotion of film and literature. Life would be bleak and boring without the colour of the artist. Can you imagine every artist saying out loud? “I have this wonderful idea about painting this beautiful picture, but I’m not even going to try because i’ll fail to create it perfectly?” We’d have no Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Mona Lisa’. which in itself is a “visual representation of happiness and harmony”. And no Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, the view from his asylum, perhaps his only joy each day. What a tragedy that would be. Both representing opposite sides of the vastness of life, consisting of both happiness and failure. Even Vincent, created his best artistic work, at a time he was in an asylum.

Of course, not every artist is a “starving artist”, Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo both came from families from notable backgrounds. However, theres something captivating about the cliche of the starving artist, it leaves us wondering if luck or fate have anything to do with whether they will become a success or talent. And even with immense talent, creativity often comes and goes, it take months, if not years to create a masterpiece, with some artists only gaining wealth after they die. It seems a bit cruel and unfair.

After all, a failed artist is still an artist. What is the difference between a failed artist and a successful artist? Nothing. A great artist is “someone who can make people experience something through their work” Even in a failed artists work, we can still feel, love, hate, anger, rage or bliss. This notion of the failed artist can be applied in any career situation, not just art. An accountant; an artist of numbers, a psychologist; an artist of the mind and a doctor; an artist of healing.

God (in any meaningful form to you including science) was also an artist, he made the stars sparkle with destiny, the rivers flow with grace and placed animals in a habitat that nourished and pleased them. We don’t think of god as a failure, we think of him as perfect. However god was the artist that created us, in all our beauty and colour, by creating each one of us so different, he intended for us all to shine with different qualities and uniqueness. No different from the rain and the sun, that both bring pleasure and pain.

We’ve seen the starving artist in all his glory, but we’ve also seen his apparent failures, sometimes he’s sad, crazy and wild. Other times he faces addiction troubles, extreme poverty and blocks in his creativity. People often tell him his work is no good! However the starving artist, has blind faith and trust in what he does and in something greater than himself. He knows he has a gift and he is willing to be seen and show it to the world. He can’t help it. Even through sadness, defeat and poverty he continues on his path to be the best artist he can.

When we use the life of the starving artist, we see that we have to endure challenges for the things and people we love. We can see that failure is nothing compared to the persistence of walking down the path of the ‘artist’ your own true path and having faith in your unique abilities. And god the most famous artist of all, created with blind faith, without the need for perfection.

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