Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pursuing Your Dream

Monkey + Seal, as you probably know by now, are pursuing their dreams of living their lives as financially successful artists who are able to change the world (for the better) through their art. In the very subjective art world that is usually only interested in sure-sales (after all, who goes into the business to not make money?), this can be difficult.

Most people grow up learning that art doesn't pay the bills, that professions like engineering or medicine or law are the way to go, since they're higher-paying jobs. Acting is too competitive. Dancers don't make money. Artists are always "starving." With such a background, we get asked (and sometimes we ask ourselves) "How do you do it? How do you follow a dream that seems impossible?"

The super-cool, quotable movie-one-liner is "How do you not?" (and then we put on our sunglasses and walk away, with the person asking the question totally dumbfounded and cut scene to us back in the studio painting). In all seriousness though, it's really the honest answer.

To abandon one's dream, to give up what you want to do with your life is an incredibly difficult choice. While we often think that it's not a choice, that it's the safe, responsible, socially-approved way of going about life, it is a choice. It's a choice that goes against your inner you; it defies your core self and is a constant day-to-day battle. If you're unhappy at your job, because you'd rather be doing something else, it's obvious that you're not doing what you really want to be doing, because let us tell you that if you're doing what you love, it doesn't seem like work.

If we hated painting and making art and screenprinting, we wouldn't keep doing it even after working a day job then coming home and doing laundry and cooking dinner and ohwaitwhyisitalready2am and then still deciding to break out the paints. We wouldn't spend three days reworking our webstore, or using our savings to buy t-shirts to print on, or show at craft fairs without sleeping if it wasn't what we really truly loved.

Doing all that stuff, which seems crazy and difficult, is still crazy and difficult, but we do it because in the end, it's working towards our dream. Is it scary at times? Oh most definitely. But what we find more scary than trying and maybe failing is not trying - after all, not trying has a 100% rate of failure.

If we have kids, we never want to force them into following a dream because we never chased it. At the end of the day, failure is okay. Failing is learning what didn't work so you can make it work next time. Failure is more experience. Not trying..well, not trying is nothing to write home about, and that lingering "what if" will always be there, haunting you.

Following your dream is scary, but what is scarier is the thought of growing old and having regrets. When faced with these two options, what will you choose?

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