when did i get this fat
I’ve come across articles that attempt to enumerate reasons as to “Why You Should Date an Artist”. Just recently I stumbled upon another one that even discourages it, and of course, had a sinister segue into The Realm of Drugs and Alcohol. After all, nothing is an artist manual without the mention of illegal substances.
Chances are the “Date Someone in the Arts!” article told you to go for it because with us you would supposedly experience dates that are well out of the ordinary, have the upper hand in Pictionary, and most of all because artists are universally known to be the more passionate species. I can only attest to the Pictionary bit, although it is not always true either considering that I once had my mother guess the word “foot” and she kept insisting that my drawing was a hand instead of the foot that it really was – or was supposed to be at least. In my defense, the anatomy of that foot was right on; it’s just that the toes looked like fingers and for some reason had a thumb.
As an artist, I am here to tell anyone who is interested in dating someone in the arts that these lists are not as reliable as you think. I am surrounded by artists on a regular basis and I can assure you that we all have different dating patterns. We can either be extremely passionate or extremely subdued, or right in the middle, which is where I try to be. Society has this way of romanticizing artists but I can tell you now that my wonderful friend Mick would be more willing to offer you ganja through a pipe than actual love through the heart. Artists are romantic but we are one with romance in a way that we take fancy in the unreal – not in a way that we would bring you daffodils or open your doors or take you to art exhibits and pretentiously weep over how beautiful the way things are and why life is. The lists are not totally wrong but they seem to be missing the most important reality that binds artists together. It’s the inevitable sting that we are meant to experience over and over again, not only on a personal level but also a professional one. Our common denominator is that we all know rejection far too well. Although I am certain that rejection goes for all fields, I still think that artists are more prone to criticism; hence, more acquainted with it.
Investing faith in a creative concept only to have it shot down is something that we constantly experience as early as art school, wherein the plates that we lose days of sleep for can easily be the same as the ones we fail. Countless times we put ourselves in the situation of working our asses off without any guarantee that it would even be remotely enough. In dealing with commissions we find ourselves waiting for further art direction after submitting a fully-rendered product, only to find out later on that the reason we haven’t heard back is that we have already been replaced by another artist. It’s a slap on the face but one that we must get used to.
Artists teach themselves a lot of things, and that includes being rejected without getting too hurt about it. Because really, with a 9PM deadline hovering above you and your means of living, who still has time to be a whiny little bitch about rejection? Right: no one. Once a revision is due, not even you would have time to listen to your drama about being told that your work was not good enough. Instead, you do what you have to do to beat that deadline like the motherfucking artsy fartsy champion that you truly are. Feel free to be upset for a while but do yourself a favor and make sure it’s already past nine in the evening.
The power to create comes with allowing one’s self to be destroyed, but being an artist means continuing to build even after that destruction. It is in criticism that we find what we must correct and yes, we actually want to hear what you find so wrong in something that we poured all our passion into. The best part is that we would not take it against you. In fact, we would even be thankful. Having to go through a series of rejections is what conditions artists to be less emotional about being turned down. Embracing rejection as a natural occurrence helps you design a system to carry on from it without feeling too bruised. There is a way to brush off the rejection of your creativity as if it does not sting at all, and it is in knowing that you are wired to have ideas that would not run out. Artists do not dwell in the failure of an idea but in the possibility of making it succeed. We let ourselves fall in love with a concept and fall just as in love with the next, and keep on falling in love with a myriad of them until we find the best one to pitch. All these, I would say, are comparable to how we go through the motions of dating.
The character that we build through the discipline of arts is something that we pick up not only for creating pieces but also for creating relationships with people. We bounce back from the letdowns of romance the same way we approach the ones of our artistry. No two artists are totally alike but what we all have in common is the power to construct, reconstruct and even deconstruct what is before us – emotions very much included. Owning that control over our prism of feelings gives us the power to tweak them according to our own liking; hence, we are capable of making them begin and stop at any given time, or at least slow down or adjust to a certain pace. We know how to transition from one extreme to the other and are therefore masters of our own emotions.
We fall in love with people the same way we fall in love with art. As artists we create to either be appreciated or criticized. As lovers we give love to be loved back or not at all. There is just as much uncertainty in art as there is in love, and perhaps the key is to be fearless of both. Date an artist not because of the creative dates or the Pictionary bragging rights or the illusion that we would love you in a Romeo and Juliet way, but because we are ready to face the outcome of any kind of uncertainty. Artists explore the uncharted; it’s just what we do.
We take care of ourselves. We find comfort on our own. We solve instead of waste time. You do not have to give us anything extravagant because seeing art in everything lets us find joy even in the simplest of things. Space can be guaranteed; if you want your alone time then you could be sure to have it, because most likely we even want it more than you do. Finally, if and when it ends, we can assure you that we would not bombard you with post-relationship drama. We will move on just as we always do and so can you. Pain generates great art, so consider yourself lucky that at the event of a break-up we would be more busy creating new things instead of leaving you messages about how we are still madly in love you and that maybe we could still work things out. Art keeps our emotions busy, so we promise not to meddle with yours either.
I can promise you a few other things as well. We will leave stains on the things that you own. We will make you feel uncomfortable about how our socks do not match anything else. We will make you wonder why our bags look so heavy all the time. We will tell you about our creative process over coffee as if you actually give a damn, and who knows, you might even enjoy it. We will celebrate the thought of you not only in our minds but also through the strokes of your portraits and the words we choose to describe you with in our poetry.
Julian Baker, One Tree Hill. (via dontneednofancyurl) —
One Tree Hill (via jennideawesome) —