October 11, 2013

It's Not About Art, But "Who I Am"

Out-of-print books may be found at libraries o...
Out-of-print books may be found at libraries or specialty book stores. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
An old friend just called, informed me that she knew a gallery in New York, which collects print-makings, which she thought I would be interested. After thanking her for her good intention, I told her that I was not interested. I do not have any print-making works on hands. "Why not make some?" she asked. I said I could not make "some" just by demand. If I do any, it has to be by inspiration, which I don't get very often, and which means I am not qualified to be a professional artist. She mentioned that reason I had problem with art was that because I didn't value art as "high" as it actually is, and she thought that I did not appreciate myself enough. NO, I said firmly, I know how valuable art is, but it's just not WHO I AM.

I got this comment very often through my life. So many people looked me in a way they looked at a master, mainly because my skill and my background. For many people, choosing a career is a matter of its "social value", which means how others value the things we do, not the value how much they enjoy doing them by themselves. Art seems to be something revered by most people in this world, that's why many people often told me that it is a shame if I don't continue doing art. Especially, considering that I had already spent so much time of my life on this career. But deep inside, I knew if I forced myself doing what people think I should do, I would feel miserable all my life, no matter how many compliments I receive everyday. I still remember long time ago, when I was found "hiding in home" studying math for one whole month, one of friends stared at me with remark: "Are you out of your mind?" The truth is, I had most fun in that one month.

Well, it is true that I had spent 30 some years in art career, and 30 some years I struggled trying to get rid of it as a profession, which imposed on me since I was too young by my parents. Now I did, by teaching kids art, I could spend most of my spare time without doing any art works. I just cannot imagine anything better than that.

Yes, life is short. We all have right to be happy. Now a cup of tea in hand, a book in another, I am simply in heaven. Of course, if my readers and I think I hate art, will not do any in the rest of my life, I must say, we are all wrong. I never know what I want to do tomorrow morning, even next minute after this moment. Isn't this a fun mystery to play with? Yes, life is a mystery.

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12 comments:

  1. First of all, Yun, I respect your decision and love you for that.
    Next, the choice of career is a very difficult question. Sometimes one has to keep doing the same soulless job for the sake of one's life, or more than that, for the sake of one's family. More often than not, satisfying both your heart's urges and those of your wallet is like riding two boats.

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    1. you are right uma. in many cases, life is about negotiation.

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  2. It takes courage to be who you are and not define yourself by what you do. Good for you, Yun!!

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  3. I'm with you, yunyi. I've never been influenced by what other people believe to be valuable or sacred or important. I just follow my own whims.

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    1. thanks marty. we are in the same boat!

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  4. Yun, Hi :)

    The next time you decide to create art put on a blindfold and see what you come up with. Treat it like a hobby and do it when you feel like it. Enjoy your tea and book.

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  5. Sometimes other people will look at us or what we are doing as a career and decide to tell us what they think or believe we should be doing. As an encouragement, it's good because they may see potential that we've not recognised within ourselves and it may put us on a completely new path in life but when they begin to try and force you to do it their way, then you have to take a stance and say NO. Tell them it's not who you are, and it's certainly not what you will be doing any day soon. A good friend will understand that.

    Yes, it's also about who you are.

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    1. i think we are inevitably influenced by others, more or less. so sometime we have to say no to others' advices even thought they are out of good intention. thanks RPD!

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  6. Yun Yi, I think you are a very talented artist. But I understand, and agree, that art needs to be something you do for the pleasure of doing it, it can’t be forced. Yes, life is short and we should spend it happy. A cup of tea in one hand, and a book in another, sounds perfect to me! I’m reminded of the line in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “To thine own self be true.” And that is exactly what you are doing!

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    1. thank madilyn for your encouragement and understanding. i had to google that quote from shakespears. glad great minds think alike! :-)

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