KANG MINSUK

Yes, I Am an Artist

The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying. - Steven Pressfield

A friend called me “an artist.” “No, I’m not an artist.” I shook my head and hands immediately as a reflex.

Why did I refuse to be considered an artist? I can think of a few reasons.

  1. My art is not generating money.
  2. My art is not famous.
  3. Thus, I’m not confident in my creations.

I never thought I was making art professionally. To me, only people like Picasso and Kendrick were ordained as artists. I knew I had a budding desire to craft more, but I never took myself seriously.

I glorified the outcome, not the process.

Living life as an artist is a practice. You are either engaging in the practice or you’re not. It makes no sense to say you’re not good at it. It’s like saying, “I’m not good at being a monk.” You are either living as a monk or you’re not. - Rick Rubin

My life is already filled with art. I write, record, and edit in the office until it’s dark and quiet outside. No one forces me to sit and stare at the monitor, but I still adhere to my publication schedule. It’s a plain fact; I’m devoting my life to the art of storytelling.

I dig for inspiration when I consume other books, podcasts, and videos. I sometimes sigh when I encounter an exceptional sentence in a novel. ‘How can I write like this?’ I get jealous of their God-given talent and worry about my embarrassing skills.

Art is not about thinking something up. It is about the opposite—getting something down. - Julia Cameron

In the end, no one cares whether I’m entitled to be an artist. There’s no rush to tattoo “artist” in my bio. This inner conflict will be resolved after putting enough work in. I’m the one who quit jobs and closed a restaurant to spend more time on art. I love being an artist and wish to stay truthful when a friend calls me so.

Over the next two weeks, I want to share my thoughts as I become even more invested in art-making. This will be a fun experiment. I hope to answer some questions as well.