hungry for your art

What makes you hungry to make art? What conditions do you need to to be in to find enough fuel to fire your creativity? In his blog today, Wil Wheaton describes a friend of his who quit his well-paying job to start acting:

…he said he had to ditch what he called his safety net so he would be hungry and devoted and dedicated to the acting journey. [link]

It struck me how different this attitude is from my own. I can’t feel “hungry and devoted and dedicated” unless I have a safety net. I couldn’t really explore my art until I knew that I could somehow take care of myself and my family. It probably comes from too many years of living hand-to-mouth — of dreading the end of the month, wondering if my paycheck would stretch far enough. Of never really being able to explore my art, because of a lack of time and supplies. (I remember my first class in photography, doing test exposures on scraps of photographic paper, hoping it might last the entire semester.)

That kind of existence didn’t make me dedicated, it made me paralyzed with tension and fear. But once I had worked long enough, saved enough, and had enough of a safety net, it was like a fog lifted from my eyes. Finally, I could stretch out, experiment, and play. I guess this is because my art doesn’t come from a place of tension or anguish. It comes from a place of awareness and perception. In order to see, I need the freedom to being able look away from the worries of the everyday world, and let my gaze stretch out to the horizon.


I’m with you 100% on this. That kind of hunger would stifle my creativity. However, hunger does make me market my work harder, doing more shows and trying to put my work in front of more people. Ultimately though, I too feel my art would suffer without a safety net.

Clearly tension and fear are not good for the creative process, but what would you do if you didn’t have the “safety net”?

I doubt you would stop working. It might just be alot more painful.

Been there, done that.