Blog / 2019 / The Not-So-Lonely Artist

September 18, 2019

Art is a famously lonely pursuit. The grand mythology of the artist toiling away in perfect solitude dominates the way my profession is seen. Artists themselves often feed into this representation, emphasizing their introversion.

And the fact is that I do need a lot of alone time. I love painting on Friday nights, because refusing to be social at the end of the week makes me feel like a (nerdy) rebel. There is no amount of money that would make leaving my house on a daily basis bearable, and my soul puckers at the idea of being around people every day.

But, whenever that Lonely Artist smugness starts to seduce me, you remind me of what I love most about my job.

Art only happens when a community supports and nurtures it.

We need each other. For too long, the popular concept of virtue has stressed self-sufficiency. You see it even in the seemingly harmless meming about not caring what others think of you. Because, while you can obviously go too far in chasing acceptance, things would be a lot better if we focused on how we rely on each other in a million little ways.

I know my life is very much improved when I keep our interdependence in mind, and I know it for certain right now because of the 77 people who put money into my animal alphabet book Kickstarter and because of the many others who cheered me on. Each of you made the project possible, helped me shape it, and reminded me that, while I may be by myself in my studio, I am never alone.

Gwenn Seemel’s Kickstarter for an animal ABC book
Gwenn Seemel’s Kickstarter for an animal ABC book

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