Aging is an inevitable part of our personal experience, on both a physical and social level. How we perceive our ability to express creativity can open us up to new experiences.
As a mature artist entering the field later in life, I have faced a common insecurity: can I realistically achieve my goals or is it too late?
My position is that you can. There is no research to indicate that creativity functions differently with age: if anything, it increases. Where physical stamina may decrease, experience and perceptions allow us to make artistic connections with more ease than a younger artist. If there is one thing that works to our disadvantage, it is time.
Because the mature artist does not have the 30 or 40 years required for some accomplishments, it becomes important to focus on what, realistically, we can achieve. I advocate a business-like approach, because goal setting, implementing strategies, and establishing routines are business oriented. But art is unlike any other business. It can be subjective and competitive. Despite the internet, there are still powerful gatekeepers and some geographical dependency. Your motivations must be strong to weather the inevitable discouragements and continue with your creative process. Knowing what your aspirations are will increase your ability to focus on the activities that will get you to your goals. But your business orientation ends there, or at least assumes a lesser importance compared to the living of your art.
We are all different as artists, and different, too, in our desires. The time available to us will play a role, but we can’t accurately predict what we will achieve until we try. This is not a new idea. While attending a workshop recently, I listened to Rose Frantzen echo similar thoughts in response to the question, what is beauty? She answered that she didn’t know ahead of time what was beautiful – that she couldn’t always see it until she tried to paint it.
It was through the act of exploration that the beauty was discovered.
It is through your artistic exploration that a way of living is discovered.
If this way of living can also be labeled an art career, then many artists will be satisfied.
But if it only produces beauty, connects humans in a meaningful way, contributes to the culture, or joins in with a long conversation by artists about their experiences going back to the beginning of time without any of the financial or prestigious recognitions – well, that’s pretty impressive, too.
Your results will ultimately be defined by you.