Art is a universal language in every community around the world, encompassing different issues and emotions to advance society. However, in a field with so many opportunities, many artists find themselves with a struggle to be successful and do what they love at the same time.
“Unfortunately, there was never really a time where I didn’t want to be an artist. I’ve never gotten involved in anything else. Not having that desire, really,” local sculptor, painter, and designer, George Schmidt said about the struggle he shares with most artists. Not only do they have conflicts with this hyper focused goal, but many artists also battle with the financial hardships that come with the cost of pursuing their dreams.
Similarly to George Schmidt, Fr. Elena Parmenter discovered her love for art through her grandma at a young age and hasn’t lost interest since. She hopes to become a animation or digital artist and is willing to sacrifice certain luxuries in order to do so.
“You have to be good enough or better, because it’s the only thing you can do,” Elena said, underlining the double edged sword of feeling destined to become an artist from a young age. Most artists use their unflinching drive to reach this goal, with a fear of exploring other opportunities due to lack of experience in different fields.
So how does one become good enough to embody the next Pablo Picasso or Frida Kahlo? With so much disappointment and lack of support from society, artists rarely find the attention and praise they seek unless world famous.
“Nobody really cares what you’re doing. Generally speaking, our society and our government and our institutions do not spend a lot of money promoting the arts; it’s always the first thing on the chopping block and the last thing to get funded,” Schmidt said, highlighting another struggle most artists find while chasing their dreams.
In a society that often overlooks arts, it is essential to fuel the minds of artists in order to preserve this indispensable field. According to the Liberty Classical Academy, studying the arts in school is proven to lead to positive attitudes towards all aspects of life.
“When you have struggled and you keep trying and you don’t give up, there comes a point when this miracle of magic happens in front of you and it’s just this very well thought out, technically skilled, beautiful creation of art. That’s when it pays off,” said Krista Karpel, an art teacher at Durango High School. She advocates that keeping the arts in school curriculum not only allows a sort of escape for some students, but teaches them the power of perseverance.
Every artist can agree that talent is only a small part of becoming successful in the field of art; persistence, tenacity, and sometimes a little luck amount to much of the triumph.
“Your passion will drive whatever your successes are,” Mrs. Karpel claimed. To succeed in the field of art where uncertainty of achievement is always a possibility, artists must be willing to fearlessly battle with their struggles and find victory.
Like Elena, many people find creating art a powerful way to relieve stress and mentally recharge, as well as a way to make a living.
“Art is the ability to express all your emotions and feelings and beliefs on a piece of paper, and then show it to the world,” said Elena. In our society, art is frequently used to protest and share opinions about current events, and is simultaneously a path to self improvement.
After creating the Meeting House, a small house-like structure that uses ladders to allow people to converse with each other, George Schmidt says the power of art can be used to show us who we really are, which helps us to connect with one another.
“It’s a medium that fosters dialogue and brings people together,” Schmidt commented. Today, we find ourselves in a culture where disagreements are common, which makes art that much more influential in that it can start discussions and lead to resolved conflicts.
Despite the struggles commonly found in pursuing a career in art, it is essential for these strong, imaginative minds to continue creating, not only for their own pleasure, but to benefit the experiences of those around them.
“The power of art is to enhance our own experience of ourselves, our experience of the world that we inhabit, and to not necessarily explain it, but to illuminate it,” George Schmidt said.