To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s — Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
Freedom is a complicated thought especially freedom of expression. When society draws a border to indicate the art that will be commercially viable, it creates a cell confining the artist. It is true that society does not always know what it should consider art but to create boundaries to exclude commercially mediocre art is like saying people know exactly the kind of art they admire. Even if an artist tows the line and pursues commercial success sacrificing his unrestrained expression, the success in many cases feels like a betrayal of everything natural.
Again, I realize it is easy to discuss freedom when your stomach is full and you have a roof over your head. For every artist struggling to make a living, philosophy is useless. Somehow, I exactly know how that feels because I saw my inner artist fade as the economic machine dictated my career choices.
Call me an irrational optimist but I feel you can always come back to doing what you truly love after you have loved what you have done before. For many people, it means loving the job they are in to be able to support their art in the later stages of their lives.
One reason I see a distinct advantage that late bloomers have is the fact that wealth allows you to be free of the encumbrances that money puts on art. You can freely gift the world your authentic self because the world no longer dictates your art.
Paradox of Plenty
On weekends that felt like they spanned an infinity (because I’d not know what to do with my time), I would listen to Pink Floyd.
One of the most influential albums that I listened to growing up was ‘The Wall’. In this album, the song ‘Comfortably Numb’ often captured the stasis of aimlessness. For me, at least, it was a song that captured the successful but embittered artist and its music captured suspended animation in a way it would be hard for any words to capture.