The Daily Rambling Artist: The Quiet Roar of Originality - Selective Listening

The Daily Rambling Artist: The Quiet Roar of Originality - Selective Listening

Lately, I’ve been thinking about creative choices. In the early stages of my journey as an artist, I found myself closely observing fellow creators, especially those who had weathered the tides of time and experience. While I remain sparing in seeking guidance or viewpoints from others, I am an eternal sponge, absorbing every nuance of this artistic odyssey.

A refrain I encountered frequently, echoing through the corridors of frustrated artists, was their quest to decipher the enigma of crafting art that sells. As time flowed on, I bore witness to many of the artists who took this approach, leave the art world.

I recall an encounter at a gallery, where a seasoned artist directed her praise toward a painting of mine displayed in the gallery. Her admiration came with an unexpected suggestion – that altering a single aspect of the piece would render it more marketable. I entertained the notion briefly, then voiced my concern that the edit would change the narrative of the painting’s story. Her retort was candid, "Do you want to sell it?"

Much to my lack of surprise, the piece found its admirer and sold. The aftermath, however, left me pondering the nature of that advice – the notion of molding my creative expression for the sake of market appeal. Thinking of that instance, it reminds me of a story involving Eddie Murphy and the legendary Rodney Dangerfield.

Pre-fame and pre-"Delirious" Eddie Murphy sought the wisdom of Dangerfield, seeking notes on his comedy set at a show. In response, Dangerfield suggested he tone down the obscenity – a divergence from the very element that would later catapult Murphy to fame. The irony unraveled years later, a chance encounter in a bathroom at an event. Dangerfield, locking eyes with Murphy, says, "What the f***k do I know?"

Murphy, in narrating this tale, cautions against heeding the counsel of others. And in the realm of artistry, his words resound with profound wisdom. I remain receptive, an avid listener, absorbing any advice that comes my way. Yet, the fiery core of my creative process, the orchestration of my artistic identity, rests safely within the chamber of my own musings. After all, the true custodians of my creative journey are the voices that echo in my head.

-Sergio Santos