What Jeff and dpaint have said their last couple of posts really resonate for me as I think of the good fortune I had to be mentored closely by two different local artists at two different stages of my life since graduating art school at age 24, 26 years ago. Looking back, I wish I'd been more open to their wisdom, not so arrogant in some ways, insecure in others. Hm. I'm coming up on 51, and I'm still contending with what one of these men called "the superiority/inferiority complex".
But enough about me.
Both men enjoyed great success in their careers, shared patterns of professionalism, were similarly tough-minded and demanding of themselves, very savvy and very impatient with idle time-wasters, but generous with those they deemed worthy. They shared no more than a nodding professional acquaintance, while harboring a mutual dislike. But each in my time working with them offered me this advice; establish who you are, where your passion is, and make that the center of your work. When you really know who your are and what you do "doors will open".
Swear to God, both men used those very words to me I put in quotes, something like 10 years apart. I know it sounds Pollyannaish, but I need to establish, both were anything but. By their comportment on the job and off, and by the way, even "off the job"--i.e. not actively creating or promoting their art-- they yet considered themselves as still engaged in the business of advancing their careers, and acted accordingly, so that even if they didn't know when or where the next "door" would open, it would still find them ready; by their comportment, I say, they demonstrated that this business of "establishing who you are and what you do " is hard work, maybe nothing is harder, but surely nothing is more worthwhile.
"Three's so little room for error."--Elwell