Finding your inner artist, day 17: About rewards, reasons and a culture of instant gratification

Today’s quote:

The reward of art is not fame or success but intoxication. ~ Cyril Connolly

I’ll be honest with you: Every time a (prospective) student answers the question “Why do you want to sing” with”To be famous!”, my heart sinks. Just a little.

It’s fair enough to want success for all the hard work we are putting into our art. Whether you can measure it in monetary rewards, or fame, is of course a different question, but I also completely understand if someone wants to make a living from it. Why shouldn’t they? (Side-note: Thinking this will work without serious commitment can only be called delusion though, and I had a few clients like that over the years.)

If the main purpose of, and drive behind, any type of art is to be famous and make money, something is, in my opinion, seriously amiss. I wouldn’t call it wrong, because it’s a fair enough goal, but I do believe it translates into the artwork produced.

The first reason should always be a deep love for whatever art we are practising – a sense of “not being able to do anything else“. It’s not always easy, but it I believe this is what translates to our audience, however small.

So ask yourself a few questions if you find you have struggled with your art lately:

  • Do you still love what you do, or are you just going through the motions? If the latter is the case, what are you doing about  it?
  • Do you crave instant gratification?
  • Are you prepared to put in a lot of work and effort without monetary rewards, or the prospect of fame?
  • Are you also prepared to fail many times before you have any type of success (whatever this means to you)?

© Petra Raspel 2013


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