Giving Your Artistic Baby Away

There comes a time in the creative process when you have to place your art in the hands of someone else. This happens with writers, painters, musicians, sculptors, and anyone else who forms something in his or her imagination and goes on to give it life. If you can conceive of something and make it real for others, and yet not become emotionally invested in it, you have no heart. I have yet to meet a heartless artist.

One of the best ways to feel immortal is to create something that will exist long after you’re gone. In that way, art is like procreation. In essence, your art is your baby.

Unfortunately, as a general rule, artists don’t get to spend years with their work before having to experience empty nest syndrome. I’m not simply talking about that moment when you sell your work and assume you’ll never see it again. I mean that point in the process where you have to rely on others. Editors, producers, managers, publicists, gallery owners. They all have a profound impact on the “life” of your “child.”

You are forced to loosen your grip. You have to accept the fact that you are no longer in complete control. Personally, I find this to be scary.

Once I had finished deciding what I wanted to have included in my first anthology, it then was handed over to the photographer, the editor, the cover designer… a whole host of people with their own unique visions of the final product. Yes, I still had influence. My opinions were sought out. And of course I had veto power. But relinquishing total control is extremely unsettling.

It took me quite some time to realize that that part of the process had plunged me into a low-grade depression. I wasn’t my best self at that point. And the irony is that I had total faith in my collaborators. I chose them because I respected their work. But it was still my baby that I was handing over. That is bound to have an emotional impact.

But like most parents, I’ve come to look upon my baby, now all grown up, and feel pride. I may not have any real control over the impact, or lack thereof, that my book has in the world anymore, but I really do feel that I built it on solid foundations. I gave it the best possible start. I watch it from a distance and I marvel.

And now I can’t wait to make another one.

baby

Check this out, y’all. I wrote a book! http://amzn.to/2cCHgUu

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8 thoughts on “Giving Your Artistic Baby Away

  1. lyn sutton

    Welcome to parenthood. For someone who never wanted children you seem to understand parenthood intimately, except for the delusion where you think parents have ever had complete control over their children. 🙂

      1. lyn sutton

        Gee, never would have guessed that…:) This may sound contradictory, but looked at abstractly, aren’t control and freedom two sides of the same coin? You want the freedom to control your own life and you want to control the life of your own freedom. At some point it seems like they cancel each other out and are both just an illusion. Something to consider while parenting and releasing your next artistic baby.

  2. Jude

    Congratulations on your new book. Just today I checked my junk file and realized why I haven’t seen your blog in awhile. I was a loyal reader but have been busy with personal issues causing me to fall behind in reading all my emails. I am catching up now.

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