The Insecure Artist


One of series of posts originally destined for my Linkedin profile but held back in draft format, ie unpublished.

I’m a little wary of posting anything other than positive commentary on Linkedin since it can reflect badly when recruiters come knocking, though I find the relentless positivity of Linkedin irritating. There are few stories or viewpoints on the struggles of creative people, of how they can get things wrong or even criticism of work that is out there – everything is great, which is of course not the case.

If nothing else, perhaps these posts can signpost the pitfalls for aspiring artists in whatever medium.

Look, artists are insecure people – it doesn’t matter what age you are or how much mileage you have clocked up, that insecurity is always there – don’t let anyone convince you that the “pro” with years under their belt is any less insecure than you are if you’re an up and coming artist, it simply isn’t true.

Insecurity about whether you are good enough, insecurity about getting that job, insecurity about your age compared to all the up and coming artists, insecurity about working at all – it never leaves you, believe me.

If you’re an artist worth your salt I don’t think that that insecurity should ever leave you because once you decide you are merely “good enough” and are happy with receiving the validation you may seek from your peers, then it means you are no longer curious & are happy to tootle along being “good enough” rather than being better – let’s put “best” aside for one moment since that is entirely relative.

I’ve always bucked away from jobs where I begin to feel too comfortable, which probably explains why I have moved around so much in my career (check out my profile) – I’m too damn curious about everything, I’m never satisfied with my drawing style, I change it on a whim, I confound producers who want me to be steady reliable Ravi churning out consistent drawings from one year to the next and in so doing failing to realise that I thrive on the insecurity, on the thrill of the high wire, because I’m an insecure artist – and you should be too.

On the issue of “Best”, well, it’s good to have a notion of what is the best but the definition of best changes depending upon the viewer – one persons benchmark may not be the same as another persons – wouldn’t it be terrible if we all decided x,y or z was the absolute best – that implies that there is no beyond point, no point in pushing further, no point in tearing todays “best” down and trying something else altogether because who wants to be secure and comfortable knowing what’s best…?

Not me…I’ve seen the visible, now I want to see the unseen, that’s what being an artist is all about & it can be scary, but it’s also fun.

Ravi Swami Nov 2021