Those of us who are artists of any sort are mostly destined for one extreme or another: fame or invisibility. There are a fair number who manage to become something in between, of course, making enough money or garnering enough notoriety with their work to evade complete obscurity, but by virtue of that very existence in between, they too remain generally unknown by the broader world.
I have neither the skills nor the ambition to make myself successful in the business aspects of being an artist, so it’s a virtual lock that I’ll never be rich or famous, let alone both. That means, for me, that to be a success I must focus on working to please an audience of one. Even those who love and support and care about me have no obligation to admire and delight in my artistic output, and they can’t, without a large number of less-connected persons, make me a resounding financial success. My loved ones do seem to like my work, often enough, a fact that defies logic in its own special way, but that still doesn’t make those who adore me, singly or en masse, rich enough to make me rich, even if they sincerely wanted to own passels of my creative output, another reality which would not necessarily represent great intelligence or aesthetic taste on their part, even by my loose standards.
I can and do self-publish, and though that’s clearly an unnecessary and unbusinesslike indulgence, it makes the process of writing and drawing, painting and composing more entertaining for me and less of an invisible feeling enterprise. It doesn’t change the business end of the equation other than endorsing the probability that nobody in his right mind will pay me for things I’m giving away for free anyhow, but it motivates me to do something, anything, more than I might otherwise.
So where does that leave me? Knowing that I am working on my art, first and foremost, to please myself. I am and always will be heartily glad if and when others genuinely share my enjoyment and appreciation of what I consider my share-worthy artistic output. It’s a huge thrill when anyone deigns to spend actual, legitimate, government-recognized currency of virtually any national origin on the purchase of any of that work. But since the latter sort of happenings are rare as hens’ teeth, I will do best to enjoy my sporadic glimpses of small-scale fame when anyone expresses pleasure in my art, and the rest of the time, relish the process of production and any end products of it that I like, all as president, primary cheerleader, and sole permanent member of my own fan club, the way most of us artists are nature-made to be. Is that the sound of one hand clapping I hear, or did somebody just smack me to try to knock some sense into me?