On Ambition and Purpose in Art

 In A thought

At the time of starting this, I can’t seem to think of a good title for what I want to say. Maybe it’s because I don’t actually know what I want to say like I may think I do. So I’ll endeavor just to write, and the truth will unfold soon enough. I’ll come to the title by distilling it from whatever I write from here on, and it’ll convey the truth of the post better than any other title could have.

I find myself thinking about ambition in art (visual media, traditional, written, etc.) often lately, about what it is that drives me to create. I feel as though art is ultimately an expression of the self, the manifestation of whatever truth you want to show the world. There is a truth in something that any person creates, whether they’re aware of it or not, and by expressing myself through art I put that truth out into the world. Art by virtue of existing is a form of communication, as it conveys something insubstantial and constantly changing within us. Through witnessing and absorbing the art of others I open myself to their experiences and emotions, even if I can’t understand or relate to them, and compare them to my own, and as this happens so again does my truth change, a change that is reflected in my future art.

But what brought me here? What am I looking for in the pursuit of this career?

I have found myself asking this constantly over the past few weeks. I feel confident that media production is the industry for me, and I truthfully couldn’t see myself doing anything else. Despite this confidence in what I’ve chosen to do though, I have never really thought about why I want to do this, only that I know I do. I find fulfillment through working, but what is it in me that I am fulfilling? Not knowing why I was so committed to the path I had chosen bothered me endlessly, and I’ve spent a long time reflecting on what it is that I was looking for when I came to this point in my life. What led me to changing my major to media production when I was supposed to go in for business? What pushed me to pursue this? Funnily enough, I feel as though in the process of coming to the conclusions I have made I have also changed so much as a person that I may never really understand what it really was in the first place, that truth changed along with me.

I have struggled with depression stemming from childhood trauma for my entire life, and particularly in the past year of my life it worsened to a point where I was becoming unrecognizable from the person I was and more and more unlike the person I wanted to be. I lost my will to live and my drive to do anything with my life and thought that the only truth in my world was that I deserved every bit of it and more. I made more terrible mistakes than I can remember during this time and every time I thought about the way that I was living and came close to picking myself back up I would tear myself down and rip myself apart because I simply could not allow myself to be happy. I eventually began to seek professional help and as I have begun to heal and fix my perspective, I have realized more and more that in many reasons I feel the reason why I love art and this industry so much come back to how important I feel it is to always make an effort to understand the experiences of others.

As human beings we create the idea of ourselves and our world through the truths presented to us throughout our life. In trying to understand ourselves, we try to understand the world and people around us, and how we’re different. One of the most important things I realized is that no two people can ever truly understand each other, no matter how much they may believe they do or want to, we’re all ultimately alone in our heads and nobody can really understand you except for you yourself. Only I can ever understand myself, and that’s all I’ll ever really understand completely, but to even start doing so I have to open myself to the experiences of others and the world around me. We are all alone but we all owe a debt to each other of kindness and compassion, even if we can never totally and truly understand and know each other it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to understand and nothing really fulfills this philosophy inside of me like making art and media. To dedicate myself to documenting my own experiences and the experiences of others, to bring emotion and feeling and thought to life in image, color and sound. To share these experiences with the world so that other’s can see the truths I have come to on my own and the truths of others that I have witnessed and use them to better understand themselves and so that they can in turn better understand others.

Why do you all feel driven to pursue your art or your career? What drives your own purpose? I’d love to know!

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Showing 2 comments
  • Michael Grossman

    You have put more thought into this than I had for a number of years into my career. It is awesome that you can and are willing to allow yourself to be so vulnerable and trusting in this space. It takes a lot of healing to do that and I wanted to recognize it. For me, I operated in the space where I changed majors and wanted, needed, had to be a part of the industry. The first time I came to realize the greater meaning of my work and my journey was when I was introduced to someone and they asked if I was the Mike Grossman that had done___________. (the project doesn’t matter) I said yes and with that, having never met her before she took my hands, looked into my eyes and said thank you. Thank you for making that. It had a profound meaning for her and it was at that point that I realized that what I did moved people, touched people and could effect people. It was an experience I will never forget. Prior to that I really only operated within my space as I did my work. After that I had a far greater respect for the responsibility I had to the people I was going to reach in the work that I would do. I love telling stories, I love entertaining people and I love having the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives even if it is one audience member on one night.

    Stay safe.

  • David Rubio

    I appreciate this post more than you know. The fact that you put a lot of thought and effort into why you are doing the things you do leads me to believe that you not only care about the art but about yourself. Thank you so much for this.

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