Inner Life of the Artist: Honoring Cycles of the Soul

Posted by Planet Waves


Artist and painter Jennifer Keltos dismisses the idea that in order to create art the artist must suffer. Instead, she says in her Cosmophilia article, “When I honor myself and provide myself the circumstances that allow me to create to the best of my ability, both I and my work have the chance to thrive.” She invites artists to remember that the inhalation is as important as the exhalation, as is the knowledge that you belong here, too.

Here is the beginning of artist Jennifer Keltos’s essay for for Cosmophilia: You Belong Here. You can read it in its entirety on the Cosmophilia website, where all the featured articles are open to all readers. If you’re curious about the audio and written readings Eric created for all 12 zodiac signs for Cosmophilia, you can buy them individually here, and get a deeper sense of how fully your life fits into this year’s astrology. — Amanda P.

by Jennifer Keltos

My message is to artists, particularly the sensitive among us: You belong here.

Artists are introduced to an insidious idea the moment we decide to take our craft seriously: that we must suffer for our art. Although it is true that the time will come to make sacrifices in the pursuit of our craft, suffering is not the point.

by Jennifer Keltos

by Jennifer Keltos

There is a major distinction here: when we separate our art from our life and focus on only the work itself we tend to take a reductionist, bottom-line approach. We cut out parts of life that are not ‘essential’ in order to achieve the maximum output. We deprive ourselves of the necessary inhalation of life, believing that only the exhalation — the product — is what counts.

Here’s the thing: the inhalation matters. You matter. Since you are the one creating your art, it is wise to take care of yourself, along with all of the seemingly ‘separate’ parts of life that feed your art more than you may realize — and that support your ability to create at all.

I’ve often questioned my dedication to being an artist as I’ve so often been told that art should be the one thing I should care for above all else. It isn’t. My primary concern is that mysterious thing I treasure — the soul and muse that I can neither grasp nor understand. Art is merely a medium for communicating this and bringing it into physical form. Without this love or muse that I seek to explore and capture, my work loses its soul and meaning; it becomes an empty shell.

The physical product of our labor and creativity is only half of the equation. The entire process of creating deserves equal attention and respect — the dreaming, the incubation of ideas, the exploration, and the wonder. Our inner lives and outer processes weave in and out of each other and make up the yin and yang of creating. While productivity and hard work are certainly part of the equation, we must also value and cultivate those experiences that bring us to life and connect us most deeply with who we are.

Continue reading here.

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