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Caring For Your Tools and Planting Seeds

Updated: Apr 9, 2021

Art is not a short processs. It requires a great deal of attention, dedication, and training to come to any level of mastery. Furthermore, one must be able to endure the long, hard road of criticism, setbacks, and seemingly scant material reward commensurate with the effort put forth. As such, I would like to compare the work of the Artist with the work of the Farmer. The Farmer must rise early, because there is much to do in a given day. They must plow the field, sow it, fertilize, irrigate. The Farmer must be sure that their tools are in operable condition, and will not fail them when called upon to perform. The Farmer must attempt to predict the weather conditions of the season, and plant accordingly. They must ensure that their hired hands are being engaged to their tasks well, and properly remunerated. The Farmer must acknowledge that for every one hundred seeds they plant, only a few will actually grow to maturity, and be harvestable, and so they must plant as many as the land can abide. The Farmer must balance their budget, must retain cordial relations with their contacts, and must ultimately care for themselves, as their physical and mental health are the ultimate arbiters of whether they feast or famine. And then, they must trust to chance; preparing themselves for the possibility of a poor harvest, not over-extending themselves so that when the harvest is plentiful, they are blessed with bounty rather than 'just making it'. It is a life-long endeavor, and it is a long game. The Farmer cannot be deterred by a poor harvest from being a Farmer. Rather, they must roll with the punches, and begin the process again each season, and each day. The Artist operates in the same way. The field is your profession. You must nurture it, help it to grow; an exercise that is not a short process, but must occur daily. The Artist's tools are themselves, their instruments, their workspaces, their bodies, their minds and their spirits. These must be maintained, lest they should fail when they are called upon. For many Artists, the nature of their work is seasonal: pilot seasons, gallery entries, grant dispensations, and writing contests, ad infinitum. It must be tended to like clockwork lest the momentum be lost. The Artist's contacts are likewise tools of a sort, because these are the relationships that are going to mature and sustain you; in time, they may grow to such an extent that they are capable of enhancing your work, allowing it to take flight to levels unthought of. The Artist must put aside the hype, and create not for the sake of mere profit, but for the sake of creation itself, and trust that if they adhere to their craft, because they love it and need it, that it will be noticed, and that profit of some kind, will necessarily follow. Like the Farmer, the life of the Artist is hard, physical work. The painter paints with their hands, the musician creates with their instruments, the actor portrays with their body, the writer crafts with the written word. It requires a discipline and dedication which accounts for, but ultimately remains unbowed in, the face of disaster. The creative spirit lives for the next day, everyday, because it must. Because what was written by today's failures or successes are no longer valid when tomorrow comes. It is a life style or philosophy perhaps, more than it is a job. Like the work of the farmer, who through their labor feed the body, the work of the artist feeds the spirit. Like the work of the farmer, the work of the artist is dangerous, honerous, physical, temporal, devastatingly beautiful, and necessary. Plant your seeds, tend your tools, rise everyday with the need to create in your heart, and I wish you a bountiful harvest.


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