March 24, 2013

I just came across an interview with artist John Freeborn in which he was asked to define creative success. He defined it as "having the freedom to make what I think needs to be made and having the resources to do it." I liked this, as it felt like a very broad definition, but one that gets at the heart of what really matters deep down to most creatives. He interviewed several artists in his book "Big Kids Little Kids," asking each of them to define success as well. It's interesting to hear people's thoughts on this. Here are several of their answers:

"I still think that my criteria for good work is something which improves your life. If I can point to some truth or foster a better understanding with my work, then I've succeeded. Of course, the person on the other end has to be open in order for that to happen..."

"If you can pay your bills and have some fun, you are doing ok."

"Being happy with where you are"

"The possibility to execute an idea, or project, thoroughly."

"The easiest type of success to define is career success, when you can support yourself and be known for your art. However, I know plenty of people who create very successful work, but don't necessarily have career success because they aren't working in a popular genre or they don't promote themselves enough. As long as you are progressing and doing new work that helps create momentum for more art to come, you're succeeding."

"I think getting your values--both in terms of what you enjoy doing and what you feel you should do--as close to what you're actually doing as possible."

And one more, because I thought it was kind of humorous:

"I find this question a bit difficult. In America, success seems to be defined by how many billions one CEO of a corporation can make in a day, or by pounding the living daylights out of 'enemy combatants'/innocent people in operations entitled 'enduring freedom.' If this is success, I'm far more interested in being a failure."

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