What it Means to Be a Real Artist

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artist heath prospect hillI only recently began calling myself an artist and meaning it. Before this, I was a salesman, or baseball player, and maybe on a good day I was a blogger. I didn’t feel qualified for the term artist, even though that’s what I wanted to be. Artists were eccentric painters or musicians with long beards who wore clothes from stores I’ve never heard of. I wear cowboy boots.

But as of late, I’ve re-visited my opinion of artists and decided that I am an artist. Once I decided that I was an artist, I also had to revisit what that meant for the work I share with the world.

This is what I believe the job of an artist is, and what I tell myself on a daily basis to strive for:

An artist is selfless.

An artist pursues work that can be shared with the world. From my own experience, art comes from chasing after a passion or love to make the world a better place. A place that is happier, brighter, and has more meaning because the artist created something that left a beautiful or profound mark on the earth.

An artist is vulnerable.

Art exposes the parts of us that we don’t want others to see, because we’re scared of what they might think. We don’t want people to know that we’re really insecure at times or that we have faults and fears, because then they will see we are weak. But the truth is, it’s the artist’s most vulnerable moments that truly express and provide the world with exactly what it needs–hope. Hope that we are not alone in our worries and fears, hope that someone understands our heart, and most of all, hope that we could possibly one day too create something worthwhile.

An artist is courageous.

It’s easy to show up for a job where you don’t have to spill your heart or “let people in.” But real art is fearless. It is what we do when we aren’t scared of letting people in and being hurt. Actually, I take that back. Art is what we do when we are scared, but we have the courage to let people in.

An artist overcomes obstacles and “the resistance”.

Art is the work that we complete after facing hardship and obstacles in our path. Art means facing resistance, overcoming the resistance and still making something worthwhile to share with the world. Art isn’t easy and wasn’t made to be, it’s what comes after exhausting ourself for a fight we believe in.

All this talk of being an artist is exhausting, because now I know all the areas where I can and should improve. My name is Heath and I’m a writer. I’m a writer because I wake up everyday and write. I’m an artist because I strive to be humble, helpful, and honest in everything I publish. At the end of the day I would rather create something half as beautiful, but twice as honest. I want the world to know the real me. I want to have lived a life authentic to myself. A happy life that was spent making art.

What art are you going to give to the world?