"ART is a word which summarizes THE QUALITY OF COMMUNICATION. "
L. Ron Hubbard

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ego and the Artist

I’ve sometimes heard it said that the artist has too much ego.

What is ego? Well, it’s a word that originally — in Latin — simply meant “I”. But it was borrowed by Sigmund Freud to represent a concept of self, and is often used in a derogatory sense as egotism, which "characterizes an exaggerated estimate of one's intellect, ability, importance, appearance, wit, or other valued personal characteristics." In other words, ego became identified with selfishness or the failure to take others’ interests and well-being into account.

Looking back over my long career, when I was young, I had a lot of “ego,”a strong sense of personal worth. I say that now, because at the time I had little to show in terms of finished art, simply a sense of greatness. And so I may well have been seen as having an ego, in the bad sense.

 But I would encourage my students and artist friends to develop a strong sense of self-worth. First, it’s a bulwark against those who are so afraid of surviving that they would put down anyone with creative ability. Secondly, you probably ARE great; you just need the time to develop a body of work. Third, how are you going to make your work known to others if you, yourself, have been persuaded not to promote your self-worth? 

Life can be discouraging. Art is fun. Fill the world with art and encourage others to do so.

Here’s a painting I completed recently:
Floral with brown pitcher