What can lovers and friends do when they recognize a creative artist in their midst?
The young person struggling with artistic impulses is vulnerable in the formative years. Without the maturity of craft and experience, the need for lessons, coaching, and educational support is essential.
In fact, the artist’s need to learn and explore never ends. The creative person remains an avaricious student their entire life. Formal education is often too structured and limiting for the impatient potential artist so guidance is important at this stage of development to assure a good background. A painter who does not understand the history of his art form will always be limited by what he or she does not know. A novelist who has no critical perspective of his genre is destined to mediocrity. Many localities offer special programs for the gifted and talented. Acceptance in their educational program should be the goal of the creative aspirant.
By the late teens and early twenties, the creative personality will do well to find a mentor, an older person in her artistic field who can serve as teacher and advisor. Mentors open the door on the real life of what it means to pursue art. The struggle and the compromises of adult life become evident as art as a profession is revealed. Most acolytes of art never progress beyond this stage. Although they do not choose the sacrifices of the artist’s life, they can become an especially qualified audience for appreciation of the art form.
Beyond the early stages of recognition of talent and the acquisitions of basic education and skills, the creative artist needs an opportunity for growth and refinement. Since it is usually impossible to earn a livelihood from purely artistic productivity, practical compromises must be made. The natural urge toward marriage and children further complicates the equation. Families are required to make significant financial and lifestyle sacrifices if they are to support a creative artist member. It is a difficult role to play because it is easy to see the artist as a selfish, willfully exploitive human being whose personal interests outweigh the comforts and concerns of the family. If dedication is a prerequisite of the artist, it is also a necessary quality of his or her enduring family.
If the goal of the lover can be the same as the artist—the consistent completion of artistic work—then the lover and the artist can take joy in the productivity.
You may have noticed in this blog that entries will try not to become gender specific because the blogger is male. In a general commentary, the pronouns will often alternate between paragraphs. As a man with three daughters and five granddaughters, the blogger intends to be as gender inclusive as possible.