Here are some things we want to share with those of you who love and support an Artist in their life. Now please understand that we never intend to claim that all artists behave the same way or can be painted with the same brush. That being understood we want to discuss ideas here that we hope you may find useful in your efforts to support an Artist. Please continue to use whatever has been working for your relationship up until now and only add things that you believe will be of some service to you.
"And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each others shadow."
- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Many Artist may have a rhythm to their work and it is not usually like the average persons routine in life. If you want to have dinner on the table at 6 O'clock sharp every evening then it is very possible that the Artist in your life may or may not attend on time or at all for extended periods. It may be best not to try to adjust the Artist's schedule around what works for you, but rather to try and understand that sometimes supporting an Artist may mean staying away from them. Since Artists often neglect their own needs during creative times, why not bring them a bottled drink (so it doesn't spill) and some easy to eat snacks once in a while?
Being there for an Artist at the right moments is equally if not more important than when not to be there. The time may come when an Artist will want to share with you their work. This is truly a sacred moment and your full attention is an absolute must. If an Artist chooses to share something with you that they have created and you are dismissive or not fully present for them, it is possible that this behavior will be taken as a deep betrayal to them and may result in damage to your relationship. When Artist's create, it is a deeply emotional, even self sacrificial event. Their work studio may be akin to a birthing chamber and their creations like their own children. Thinking of the situation in this manner will help you to be present for your Artist in a manner that will be intuitively felt by them and will most certainly bring you even closer to their heart and the heart of an Artist is a place very few get to say that they reside in.
Let's take an example of a generally accepted work routine for many people, 5 days a week for about 8 hours a day totaling 40 hours for the week. In contrast an Artist who is in a creative rhythm may work 16 or 18 hours in a day with little to no regard for breaks. They may work at seemingly odd hours for days, weeks or months on end. It may not matter what day of the week it is or even if it's a Holiday. When the God of Art takes hold of an Artist, sometimes they may not even rest on the 7th day. Again, your suspension of the generally accepted sleeping, eating and working schedules will benefit their creative process. However, it is important to note that you do not need to alter your schedule at all. Most Artist have no intention of imposing their schedule on others and would only ask that you do the same.
Why can't Artists just be like everyone else?
We have encountered many people who share this sentiment and do not really try to understand what life must be like for an Artist. We would say to these people how would you like to 'have to' create poetry, music, stories, designs, dance routines etc. for 8 hours a day 5 days a week? If the average person was pressured to create Art all day, they would be just as unhappy as an Artist is in a regular job. To assume that an Artist is trying to dodge their obligations to society is to completely misunderstand what it means 'to be' an Artist. Of course many Artist do take regular jobs out of necessity, plus they must submit to the creative call as well. Which life seems more fair now?
It would be wrong to think of an Artist as selfish, although many of the situations we discuss here may seem that way at face value. Let's remember that Artist never asked to be designed this way, they truly are just a different type of energy, that they themselves often do not fully understand. Being a conduit for Art is actually quite a selfless existence.
Am I second to their Art?
This can be a difficult question to answer. This we know for sure, if you insist on being first, above their Art then that insistence and the behavior surrounding it will almost certainly make you second. It is no secret that Artist are misunderstood. If you truly want to be supportive of an Artist, then it begins with patience, which will lead to greater understanding. If you can begin to see and understand what it is 'to be' an Artist and you can help an Artist to better understand themselves, then you will have likely entered a very precious place within their life. In putting your ego aside and acting from a place of true compassion, life with an Artist will broaden your understanding of life in general and being first may become the last thing on your mind.
When the creative cycle has passed.
Another important time to be there for an Artist is when they are in a creative lull, or not inspired to create at all. This is a perfectly normal part of the ebb and flow of many Artist's lives. Sometimes there are feelings that the creative well has run dry and they may pose questions like, "What if I can't create anymore?" This is a time where it may be good to remind them that it is a natural pullback that is for their benefit, because to be in a constant state of Artistic creation is simply not sustainable. We will sometimes ask an Artist, " What is it that makes you create?" and they will usually answer something along the lines of, " I don't know, it just comes to me." This is the perfect time to acknowledge that whatever energy it was that has been coming to you must also recognize that this is the right time to give you a chance to recharge. Some Artist may feel a little more in need of attention during this stage as they look to redirect their energy. Recognizing this cycle will help you to know when to make yourself more available without the expectation that this is the way it will always be. Again, understanding an Artist and helping them to understand who and what they are may be one of the greatest supportive services you can provide to them and to yourself as well.
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Be sure to also check out our "Am I An Artist?" article series for more information on supporting the Artist in your life.
-To Your Success!
Support For Those Who Love an Artist
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