Can Success Hold You Back?

I was talking to a fellow artist the other day and she shared with me she believed Success was holding her back.

Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it.

Her work was selling and this past year her art income had gone up substantially.

So exactly what was the problem? She felt stuck. She felt her success had put her in a box of limited creativity.

Success has a way of doing this because if something is selling we tend to do the same thing over and over until we no longer see our way out.

The demand for more paintings can be exhilarating and it can also be a prison.

When our well of creativity goes dry and we are relegated to creating what others want and not what our soul aspires to paint we have gone from creating to producing.

One artist produced sugary sweet paintings over and over and in turn made more money than any artist in history. That artist was Thomas Kinkade. At his death, his net worth was $70 million dollars. He was claimed to be “America’s most-collected living artist” before his death with an estimated 1 in every 20 American homes owning one of his paintings.

Years ago, I saw an original sepia painting of his that was simple, sensual and beautiful but the gallery owner hastened to tell me the piece I found so compelling was not Kinkade’s best and proceeded to take me to one of his nauseatingly sweet paintings.

Kinkade died of acute intoxication from combining alcohol and Valium.

It is the artist who successfully creates and has the courage to remain true to her soul that will offer the world breathtaking pieces of art.

Let me know what you think…

What do you think? Comment below:

  • Sara Chambers

    Right on, Sister! The balancing act between saleable painting and creativity is crucial for our well being. The challenge is finding the path that permits both. It’s tempting to desire the financial success and recognition of a Kincaid or Martinez. But producing the same formulaic painting repeatedly sounds like artistic death to me. Ideas on finding balance?

    • gwen fox

      Thanks Sara for your comment. As to finding balance I think having someone you trust to help you along your path is essential. Someone who can hold you accountable to your unique creativity. Someone who can help when those financial temptations seem like the way to go.
      Being aware of who you are and your “why” in creating is crucial.
      You can be successful and still share that voice that is uniquely yours without prostituting your art.

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