On being an early career Artist in 2022
I may be projecting, but it feels like the main mindset of young artists nowadays is to get super rich and famous off of their art. Growing up in a digital age, Gen Z and Zoomers have spent lots of time watching young successful artist like Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo seemingly become commercial hits overnight. Even in the classrooms at my BFA program, the education is focused on getting jobs and breaking into the industry more than it’s focused on quality of art and personal expression. And realistically, this is what we need to focus on to be able to stay afloat in the art world. But, it’s not what we need to focus on to reach a higher level of expression.
There’s already such a lack of stability for artists to be able to develop themselves, adding the pressure to become a prodigy overnight. I see most of the artists around me in a frantic existential loophole of hope that they’ll be discovered by some producer at brunch the next day. On top of that, we all face this massive pressure to conform to the socially acceptable opinion. Rather than looking inward and asking ourselves what we truly feel, we look around ourselves and ask what is okay to feel. This mindset distracts us from our true mission as artist; don’t think and just express. We cannot be thinking about what other people want to hear if we’re going to reach the most truthful level of expression, but we must conform to be heard.