As I get older, I try to come to terms with the fact that I’ve not created or gotten on the path to create as many great things as I would have hoped by this age. I think about ”Am I where I’d like to be? If so, why not, and what can I do about that to change my situation or my perspective? How can I feel better about it and how can I shift my goals and my behavior to make a future that I want? Which pressures are internal and which are external? Am I ok with being average?”
There’s a lot of pressure that comes from being great young, and many people I look up to such as Tezuka or Miyazaki created more than a few great things in their life and even have at least one impressive thing from their 20s. Maybe I can’t be that great or hard working, but I can keep trying and even if I’m 30 or 40 or 50 or 80 when I make something again that I can feel proud of, I think that’s fine, even if it’s just one thing. There’s no point in saying, “If only i was a more impressive 15 year old,” because it’s not going to happen, but it’s hard to not wish sometimes.
I don’t know what will happen or how things will turn out, but all I can do is keep trying and try to find value in that and whatever life I happen to live. I don’t know if I’ll live until I’m 80 or even 30, but I hope I get old and I’ll try to keep thinking, “It’s never too late.”
I read a really interesting article about the “two types” of great artists. There is the young genius, who comes up with something new and interesting at a young age, and then there are the types who refine an idea and refine and refine until they make something interesting, who are generally not recognized until they reach middle age or are old.
Interestingly those who shine at a young age often don’t continue to create excellent work, they don’t make another exciting jump in their art lives after the first one. Their early work is often more appreciated than their later work. We tend to give them more attention though. But on the other hand some of history’s greatest artists did not get much attention until they were old. Hokusai for instance is now considered one of the greatest Japanese artists of all history - received little notice until he was middle aged. If Jackson Pollock had died in his 20s, he’d have left nothing of interest behind for the art world. Same could be said for Rothko. Or many other great artists. Elgar did not get his break as a composer until he was in his 40s, and was one of the greatest composers.
We focus a lot on finding success at a young age, but it really is never too late to make something exceptional.
^ Agreed. I think about this a lot myself. I largely consider myself a late bloomer, in many aspects. For art, I only (really) started drawing at 15, (while loathing myself all the way, haha )and I only realized that this wasn’t just a phase, when I hit twenty. Now I’m trying to do my best not to let this part of me die. I believe it will be worth it, in the end.
I think that ultimately, no matter what age you are- let your work speak for itself. Create beautiful things at 13, create beautiful things as 30, and create beautiful things as 60, and go on. There is nothing more inspiring than watching people do what they love, and do it well.
Here’s to all the prodigies, and the late bloomers. Keep on trooping.