Sometimes the only one who believes in your art is you. Often this feels like a lonely endeavor. Doubt and anxiety plague your every move. But you have to climb that mountain of lines and words and notes to the summit.
I recently delved into one of my childhood favorites, the world of Moebius. Many don’t even know who this French artist is. He created some of the most bizarre comics in the 1980s. His influence can be felt everywhere, like ripples in a pond. Yet going back to his work can feel a bit puzzling at times.
I’ll admit, I don’t often get what he’s aiming at. Some of it is his Frenchness. More often he, himself, cloaks his work in deliberate mystery, wanting the reader to decipher meaning.
What struck me most was a quote by him at the start of a newly released graphic novel of Edena. In his introduction, he talks about the lonely journey of an artist:
“We take risks, but if you want to go to the peak of your consciousness, you may very well find yourself alone. Even if you know how to translate what you saw, maybe only ten people will be able to understand what you tell. But if you have faith in your vision and retell it again and again, you will start noticing that, aftera time, more people will begin to catch up with you.”
The idea of “translating” speaks to technique. You have to know your craft. Not all artistic visions can be fully realized if the technique is sloppy or half-baked. Know your skills first. However, if you are proficient in your medium, then you will have what Moebius speaks off — that top of the mountain experience.
Yet only a few will appreciate it at first.
Worry not. This is where your perseverance comes in. Make the art for no one but yourself. Stay true to your vision, and like a scientist in a lab, soon your discovery will be ubiquitous.
Take for example the president of IBM who said, in 1943, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” How he would marvel at our age of smartphones, a computer in every pocket.
Stick to your vision and in time, it will proliferate.