The Higher Calling Of Art

by Randy Murray on October 7, 2013

I am an artist. I am a writer and playwright. My two daughters are artists. One is a musician and the other a painter. I know many artists at many different stages of their development.

When I hear an artist bemoan the fact that they can’t make a living doing their art I understand what they’re saying, but I can’t say that I’m sympathetic. From my perspective art is a higher calling.

Earning a living is a necessity for most of us, but only that, a necessity. Art is not a promise of fame or fortune. Art is a way to express oneself.

I write plays and other things because I am called to do so. Something inside me insists that I write. While I wouldn’t refuse payment for my plays, and there has been some compensation, I don’t write plays for the money. When I start a new play I do not first think, “what could I write that would SELL?” That thing that drives me seems to take perverse pleasure in making me create things that are devilishly difficult to produce. It doesn’t allow for compromises and it urges me on to new, higher levels of performance. It never whispers in my ear, “do this and you’ll be rich!”

It doesn’t matter. I have skills that I can use to make a living. It’s not a compromise. It’s just fortunate. If you’re lucky, like me, the skills that you developed to become an artist may help you earn a living, too.

When I tried to plan my college course of study I thought that I would study science and become a doctor because that would result in a lucrative and interesting career. But I found that I was spending all of my time in the theater. Eventually, when I could fight it no longer, I let go and immersed myself in the study of theater, of developing my art. I soon found myself energized and happier. And it set me on the path of my life.

When I completed my formal education I turned myself to earning a living, but the call to make art, to write, never left me. It drives me now. I do not regret that I do not earn a living writing plays. And I don’t feel that there’s any particular purity in NOT earning a living from art. I just see them as separate things.

I make art because I am called to. I see that calling as higher, more central to who I am than whatever I’m doing at the moment to earn money.

What calls to you?

Copyright © 2013 - All Rights Reserved

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

  • patrickrhone / journal » Blog Archive » Items Of Interest #7 October 7, 2013

Previous post:

Next post: