Sol LeWitt, “Horizontal Brushstrokes (More or Less),” 2002. Gouache on paper, 22-3⁄8 x 22-3⁄8 inches (Photo courtesy Craig F. Starr Gallery. Art © 2011 The LeWitt Estate /Artists Rights Society, New York)

 

 

“Metronomic Irregularity I” by Eva Hesse, 1966. (Image courtesy the Brooklyn Museum. Art © 2011 The Estate of Eva Hesse)

 

Because I’m surrounded by artists in both my professional and personal life, people often ask me what insights I’ve gained into the creative process.

The unromantic truth is that being an artist in any field is hard work. Because artists need a lot of time alone in order to create, they wrestle with loneliness and insecurity. They face continual self-doubt, as well as the criticism of others. Many artists work with no financial safety net or healthcare. Those who do have some financial stability often work day jobs that drain precious time and energy from their creative work.

Artist Eva Hesse in her studio

Artist Eva Hesse in her studio

Even for artists who make a living from their art, there is the constant tug-of-war between the need to make new work, which requires quiet and solitude, and the need to promote, sell, and manage the business side of being an artist. And all of this must be done while paying the bills, nurturing friendships, family, and relationships, doing the chores, and getting the kids to school on time.

The challenges vary, but all working artists, regardless of their struggles and their financial or critical success, share one thing in common. They make art. They sit at their desks and write. They draw. They paint. They compose music. They shoot images. They perform. They create.

This is the single most important piece of advice I could give a young arti