This morning I stumbled upon Vincent van Gogh’s thoughts about being an artist, and as it happens many times when I stumble upon something great by accident (most of the times, I reckon), I cannot help but marvel. I marvel upon this quote:
In order to work and to become an artist one needs love. At least, one who wants sentiment in his work must in the first place feel it himself, and live with his heart.
And if it was not enough, he also points out that it is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done! That’s a great thing to hear if you’re a recently woken up artist sipping on your first cup of coffee on a grey autumn day. I feel encouraged and slowly recover all my senses when it only gets better along the way:
Do you know that it is very, very necessary for honest people to remain in art? Hardly anyone knows that the secret of beautiful work lies to a great extent in truth and sincere sentiment.
Yes, I supposed I know that. Thank you for reminding me anyway. It’s one of the things you carry inside but do not articulate explicitly. There are many things that we are afraid of in terms of living a creative life. Being honest, which means necessarily being vulnerable, is one of them. Then, of course, we are constantly scared that we will never be creative enough. We tend to think that we are too young, or too old, to be creative. We are afraid we have no time, no space, no financial stability and no resources in order to be creative.
Of course, we are terribly afraid that our work will be bad, or rejected, or what would be the worst of all — ignored. We don’t want to be misunderstood. We are convinced that there is surely somebody out there who can do it much better. We don’t want to get too personal. We don’t want to meet a classmate from high school and don’t have a good answer for the legendary question ‘Oh, so what do you actually do?’ (what my friends understand as a good answer in this case is something like ‘well, I am a strategic consultant ’ — whatever that exactly mens, it sounds pretty serious— or ‘I am a brand image development manager after being an entrepreneur in residence’ or at least ‘I have my own tech startup and just closed the second investment round’ — in any case you don’t want to say ‘I am being creative’, or dear heaven, ‘I am a writer’, do you?!)
All of those worries have probably a certain logic behind. But then I keep reading Van Gogh and one more time I cannot help but say: he was a wise man.
But what is it to me whether my chance is slight or great? I mean, must I consider this when I love? No, no reckoning; one loves because one loves. Then we keep our heads clear, and do not cloud our minds, nor do we hide our feelings, nor smother the fire and light, but simply say: Thank God, I love.
I believe it is supposed to be the same with our art. Should I consider all the pro and cons before creating it? No, I don’t think so. We should also keep our heads clear and say: I write/paint/sing/make music/create stuff, because I cannot simply live.
Everyone who works with love and with intelligence finds in the very sincerity of his love for nature and art a kind of armor against the opinions of other people.
On this Friday morning, I would like to say that I am deeply convinced we all should constantly marvel about things and keep searching. Curiosity is the only thing that can show you your greatest capacity, highest sensibility and release your deepest creativity.
I am not saying that we all need to live a full-time artist life, nor that we should quit our jobs and live in a self-made cabin in the forest to seek inspiration.
However, what I do say is that we should never stop wandering and wondering. The world needs us and it means it needs the things we carry inside.
Happy Friday, Happy Creating!
Originally published at theascent.pub