Picasso on Success and Why You Should Never Compromise in Your Art
“One must have the courage of one’s vocation and the courage to make a living from one’s vocation.”
Imagine immensities. Pick yourself up from rejection and plow ahead. Don’t compromise. But how does one resist compromising one’s creative ideals when straining to meet the practical essentials of survival? An uncompromising answer comes from one of the greatest creators humanity has ever known.
Picasso’s timeless advice to all struggling artists on the importance of long-run perseverance and faith in one’s sense of purpose:
When you have something to say, to express, any submission becomes unbearable in the long run. One must have the courage of one’s vocation and the courage to make a living from one’s vocation. The “second career” is an illusion! I was often broke too, and I always resisted any temptation to live any other way than from my painting… In the beginning, I did not sell at a high price, but I sold. My drawings, my canvases went. That’s what counts.
Well, success is an important thing! It’s often been said that an artist ought to work for himself, for the “love of art,” that he ought to have contempt for success. Untrue! An artist needs success. And not only to live off it, but especially to produce his body of work. Even a rich painter has to have success. Few people understand anything about art, and not everyone is sensitive to painting. Most judge the world of art by success. Why, then,leave success to “best-selling painters”? Every generation has its own. But where is it written that success must always go to those who cater to the public’s taste? For myself, I wanted to prove that you can have success in spite of everyone, without compromise. Do you know what? It’s the success I had when I was young that became my wall of protection. The blue period, the rose period, they were screens that shielded me.