As of late, I have been considering the idea of "commitment" quite a bit.
Sap bubble on apricot branch
How deep are our commitments to our craft-- our ideals? How easily do we allow our commitments to be broken, or how easily do we become distracted enough to change direction in mid-stream?
Conversely, to what degree to we feel entitled to an "Easy Button," or-- at the very least-- to results coming to us with less efforts than we had originally expected?
At the gallery, we meet artists at many different stages of commitment to their artistic passion. Which is fine. But it is almost inevitable that the ones whose work we end up accepting are also the ones who are fully committed to their work.
Dabbling vs. Commitment
Perhaps we all have our own definitions, but commitment is-- to me-- a statement about our seriousness about something: Music, Writing, Painting, Sculpting or whatever moves our soul.
Sndpipers at water's edge (sorry, couldn't resist!)
Whereas I have always "dabbled" in various types of art as a hobbyist, when I made a commitment to take it seriously, part of the deal was that I would work hard for five years and then reassess... even if I encountered various types of resistance in the process.
That meant doing work every day-- as opposed to "whenever I felt like it." It meant being willing to commit to create something, even if it felt like garbage.
In a similar vein, s a writer on Steemit-- once I established this was a pretty cool place-- I decided that I was going to "give it a couple of years and see" how things went.
More recently, I made a commitment (for the Gallery) to write as part of the @sndbox initiative... again, this was a longer term commitment.
What Does Commitment Do?
The most superficial answer, of course, is that commitment means you start treating what you are doing as a profession, rather than just "a thing."
Close-up of a ripening apricot
But if we're passionate about art, or our "craft," isn't that what we are doing, anyway?
Not always! In fact, in many cases people avoid fully committing to their art because when they DO they also expose the deepest parts of their souls; the core of their essential selves, to the world... and to the possibility of criticism and rejection. On the other hand, if you're "just dabbling," someone making a derogatory remark carries less meaning and impact because you "weren't serious, anyway."
So, in a sense, true commitment is taking an emotional risk... not just taking a risk on your skills and talents.
In the course of my involvement with the art business, I have met a remarkably large number of talented artists who were more "committed" to being restaurant servers and retail store clerks than they were to their art because they had fears of getting hurt if they went "all in" with their art or music or other creative endeavor.
Eternal Study as Commitment Avoidance
There's a special "subtype" of not being fully committed to one's art that bears mentioning here: The "Eternal Student."
Hoarfrost on blackberry leaves
Just how many more degrees and diplomas and special courses do you actually "need" before you are ready to commit fully to your art? Is that ceramics course really going to improve your painting? Or are you really just avoiding putting yourself out there, using the "continuing education" label as an excuse to appear busy while you're actually avoiding the real issue: That you're really afraid of starting and fully immersing yourself in your art?
I'm not expecting an answer here... simply offering up some food for thought.
Education can be great-- no doubt-- but be mindful that you are not using it as a method of procrastination!
The Red Dragonfly is an independent alternative art gallery located in Port Townsend, WA; showcasing edgy and unique contemporary art & handmade crafts by local and worldwide artists. All images are our own, unless otherwise credited. Where applicable, artist images used with permission.