I am often asked this question by those I meet who come from backgrounds in business or other fields. Often the question is really one of curiosity – people really DO want to know what we do, because often they are witnesses to the end-product: the performance of the symphony or chorus, the exhibition of our talented art students, or a performance of a play or ballet. In time I realized that their question is not so much about that end-product as about what we do as artists to get there.
Each artist will answer this question
differently — for some a description of their daily routine might be very simple, for others, much more varied and complex. A pianist or trumpet player might, for example, talk about the hours spent in the practice room, and away from the practice room studying his scores. An actor might talk about how, in working on each role, different aspects of her own personality and ability are stretched and challenged. Some of our student artists might talk about their struggle to find time for their art away from their heavy course loads; others might talk about how their courses have allowed them to become better artists.
What all artists, however, will eventually touch upon is the critical need for regular work and practice, and the importance of creating an artistic routine or regimen which works for them, and which they can employ throughout the year. If I answer the question ‘what do artists do’ honestly I have to say they work, and work very hard, toward very specific goals. The culture of the artist revolves around constant self-improvement and development: when that activity ceases the artist’s progress slows, and can even stop.
So, the next time you visit the performance hall or the theatre, or view the works in our gallery, think of the work involved and the dedication to work which has produced it. Genius, talent, inspiration — these are all wonderful things, but in the end, it is work that gets the art completed, and work which is the life-blood of the artists craft.