I apologize, another lengthy read. But for those that did on the last article, my hats go off to you. Thank you for the support and good words.
I pulled yet another quote from a social media giant, as once again, it's something that hasn't quite left my system yet.
I woke up the other day and read a status on a newsfeed from someone who had been following my work, and was also a fellow artist--who for now, out of respect, I will leave unnamed.
The post was announcing the death of the artist. After reading, I scrolled down and went back to that last post he had written, which (paraphrased) read:
I have just been told by the doctors that my medicine can no longer help fight my cancer. I was given about three months left to live. I don't want to live those next three months in sadness, but rather looking back at what I've accomplished. I can't sit here and feel bad for myself, but what I can do is try to admire what I've accomplished in my life.
Why is this guy such an inspiration?
Regardless of the pending death he was facing, he did not grieve, but instead took a moment to realize what he has achieved through life up to this date. After reading the message, I thought for an hour or so about something you should never think alone about: Death.
Death frightens me. It's an incredibly daunting thought whenever you think too seriously about the topic. With a pending timeline, we all hope to live lavish and long lives, filled with memories of loved ones, moments and special occasions. As the thought grew stronger, no longer were my problems problems anymore. My anxiety that I usually had waking up (mostly minuscule things I had to get done that said day) seemed to have ebbed from my stomach and mind, and all All I could think about was the future, and how unpredictable it can be.
What struck me through his post was how he mentioned looking back at what he's accomplished. Feeling satisfied with what he's done as not only a person, but as an artist as well. It's a lesson I try to remind myself every time I can, that I'm not here just to live my life out until I pass. I wish to leave behind something, whether it's one project, or multiple. I want to be responsible for something large, I want to create something never been done before. These are goals I strive for, so when I do one day pass, I can hopefully inspire others like many artists have inspired me to this day.
Unfortunately, it's all talk when you think about it. And if you're reading this--you're more than likely an artist--and as well know in this business: talk is cheap. You can talk for days, but actually following through with it is what builds character, drive, and most importantly, gut.
This is a topic I've currently been tackling with a project that I am developing right now with several others. We were struggling to find a theme for said project, and I suggested the idea of work hard/play hard. Inspired (not in the best of ways) by the younger generation, where self-entitlement comes with a desire for everything to be given to them, without the struggle or drive it requires to achieve it own.
I see that a lot now a days, most of the time, not even related to art, but just in every day life. I see artists asking if a brush will make them better at painting, or wondering how they get to a stage of a 20 year artist, without following through with more than a couple years of painting. Working hard and leaving a mark has unfortunately been overshadowed by quick-responses and fast reactions, mostly due to the internet and it's almost immediate response.
If life is like that to you, then you're missing the best part, what I like to call: The Struggle. People ask me all the time, how long does it take to make it. And I tell them this: "You gotta eat shit, before you eat lavishly."
The Struggle is what defines you not only as a person, but as an artist or creator as well. Life throws hundreds of thousands of challenges your way, each one harder than the last. However, it's up to you to decide whether you back down from said struggle, or you face it head on. And while I write this, this article is directed towards that of an artist, it can be applied generally to anyone, in any field.
The reason I wrote this article is to ask you, What Do You Bleed For? What is your end goal? Is it a successful life an as artist? Do you want to own your own company or studio one day? Perhaps make a book, video-game or toys? Do you want to work for 343, Pixar, Naughty Dog, Blizzard or do you wish to make your own Production/Development House? Do you want to be a writer? A director? A doctor? A lawyer? A chef? The list goes on and on...
If you're reading this, you live in an era where anything is possible for those that desire it. Not everyone is gifted with a life of possibilities, but I've seen and read about many, who began with absolutely nothing, to one day carve histories and build empires.
Now a days, (most) people enjoy being comfortable. Feeling safe is a universal desire, but also a content one--and rightfully so, who wouldn't want that, especially in today's economy? Growing up as a child, my family was incredibly safe. My father was pulling in more than we knew what to do with it, and the idea of being unfortunate or poor was something that I had never experienced.
But then one day, it was all lost. I don't need to get into how it was lost, but the matter of the fact was: playtime for our family was over. The words Stress, Fear, and Anxiety became a lot more definite. I saw my parents go through The Struggle, and watched how things crumbled and collapsed around them. But I also watched as they rose from that defeat and got back on their feet. I'm glad I got to witness this as a child. It humbled me and taught myself that life isn't easy, and that the world doesn't wait around for you to catch up.
So now I live my life under somewhat of a code, as hokey as that sounds. My father once told me:
Every day you're not practicing your craft or working on it, someone that wants it much more is catching up with you.
You are given one chance at life, in a world of so many possibilities and opportunities for those willing to go the extra mile. I may be young, but I promise you, from the bottom of my (somewhat dark) heart, that when you find what you're passionate for, and what you pine to work on, every day will feel better than the next.
Don't settle, don't relax, and don't give in to the easy-life that can sometimes be incredibly attractive. Take every challenge and push yourself as hard as you can go, never get full, and always stay hungry.
And remember... What do you bleed for?