[Original Airing Date: May 5, 2011]
It’s been a long while since my work or artistry was considered a “thing”. But whenever I find someone belittling their art as a thing, this blog always came to mind. Enjoy.
A beautiful aspiring model said to me last night “Well I am going to give this modeling thing a chance…” I had to stop him immediately. No matter what you do in life, in order to be successful, you have to give it 150% or nothing at all. It is just that simple. I don’t care if you are a model, a surgeon, or a Navy SEAL. No one can take your passion away from you and no one can make it more important than you. Remember that.
For those people who are not in the arts (be it dance, music, painting, etc.), they don’t truly understand what it is to have a driving artistic passion. They look at what we do as hobbies, or something to do to pass the time, or better yet… A phase.
It is usually met with the question of “How is that [FILL IN THE BLANK] thing coming along?” I have to give pause to such a question, because if you actually THINK about it, it really is an insult. Do you go to a doctor and say “how is that medical thing coming along?” Do you go to a lawyer and say “how is that lawyer thing coming along?” Do you go to a married person and say “how is that marriage thing coming along?” Of course not. So why do you belittle what we do and reduce it to a “thing”? Is it the monetary aspect? If I made the salary of Bruce Weber or Steven Meisel and had billboards at the Crossroads of the World, would that make me more legit?
When I first embarked SERIOUSLY into photography, I got that question a lot and at first it didn’t bother me. I guess in their eyes, what I was doing was a hobby or side hustle. But as I proceeded to bust my ass with sleepless nights and endless hours of technical study. Learning to understand focal planes, memorizing mathematical equations that resulted in Fstops or understanding the science of light, they quickly realized that this was not a “thing” that I was doing. It was a serious, unadulterated craft that I was partaking in and I won’t let anyone take that away from me.
I remember something that my mother said when I was a teenager. “Be the best that you can possibly be, and never be ashamed.” I walk with that quote in my heart and little did she know, she planted a seed of personal excellence in my heart. Anything I decided to do in my life I did it to its fullest. When I sang, I practiced a minimum of 4 hours a day. Due to that intense training, I received a full scholarship for college and traveled the world. When I decided to become a personal trainer (yes, believe it or not), I took it to the level of Master Trainer, when I decided to pick up the camera, I decided to be the best that I could possibly be (I am still going on this journey and I think I will die on this journey).
If you know anyone in the arts (be it your child, loved one or friend), encourage their gifts. Never doubt their talents or ability. It can make the difference between a John Doe and a Michael Jordan.
If you’re a model, pose like Kate Moss and walk like Naomi Campbell.
If you’re a singer, make the angels weep with envy.
If you’re an actor, deliver your lines like Morgan Freeman and light up the screen like Meryl Street.
If you’re a dancer, glide like Gene Kelly and moonwalk like Michael Jackson.
If you’re an artist, paint like Rembrandt, and sculpt like DaVinci
If you’re a photographer, shoot like Avedon, and light like the sun.
But above all else. Never let ANYONE reduce your passion to a “thing.”
Think about it.
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