Everyone knows the Seven Deadly Sins. The concepts of the “capital vices” have even gone on to inspire works by many artists. But do you know the Seven Deadly Sins as they apply to the developing artist?
Gluttony – I’m not talking about consuming excessive amounts of paint. Gluttony can get you at A.C. Moore. For instance: say you don’t use water color but what if you decide you want to try it? Better buy that bottle of liquid frisket while you’re there. It feels really good to amass art supplies. But you have to remember to only buy what you need. Experimenting with different mediums is a great thing to do, but don’t buy the frisket or any other unnecessary accessories before realizing that a medium is not exactly for you. Your art doesn’t have to break the bank if you don’t overindulge.
Wrath – Don’t let your art taste your Wrath. Seriously. Don’t go punching your canvas or completely destroying things out of frustration and anger. And above all, no matter how tempting, do NOT go pouring gasoline over your life’s work. If you’re getting that worked up over a project, you need to separate yourself from it. Come back when you can look at it with a refreshed pair of eyes. This could be a great time to reset with a squiggle drawing. You’ll figure out what you need to do soon enough. Just remember that it’s much better to walk away than risk overworking a piece.
Pride – You can’t be too proud to ask for help, especially in an art school setting. Don’t do everything all by yourself all of the time. Get someone else’s opinion. You may even need to get over yourself too. Remember, there’s someone who’s always better than you and better than you at different things. You’ll have plenty of time to yourself after graduation but, right now, you should be taking advantage of having peers and professors that are willing to offer up some great tips and tricks. Be proud of your work but don’t let your pride keep you from learning.
Greed – Don’t just do artwork for the sake of making money. Sure, that’s an important factor but you have to remember why you wanted the art career in the first place. It wasn’t because you wanted to be rolling in it; it’s because you love what you do. So make sure you’re making art that you like too. On the flip-side, don’t get overly attached to your work and keep it all for yourself. You’ve got to bring home the bacon, and to get that proverbial bacon you’re going to have to trade some art for it. Learn to let go.
Sloth – Wrath means overworking, getting frustrated, and never finishing anything. Sloth is the opposite with the same outcome—being so lazy that you never get it done. Maybe you never even get enough get-go to start that project you’ve been wanting to do. Piddling through projects and missing deadlines are probably the worst things you can do. If you get lazy with your art, people will not take you seriously and it won’t be too long before you fall away from it altogether. If you really want to make it you’ve got to work for it.
Envy – It’s only natural to feel envious of another artist’s work, but do not say that to their face. Don’t ever cut yourself down in front of an artist whom you look up to. Even if you’re doing it to pay them a compliment, I can guarantee that it’s not the kind of attention they’re looking for, not to mention how unfair it is to you. If you want to improve, ask artists whom you envy about their techniques or what you could do to improve certain aspects of your own artwork. The art field is very competitive so keep in step and compete the best you can.
Lust – Having passion is important. And it’s nice to have a muse. But do not get too wrapped up in one specific subject too early on in the game. There are artists that make money only doing horse paintings. It works for them. It’s definitely good to have focus and it’s possible to find a niche working with just one thing. When you’re starting out, however, you’ll have to try a bunch of things in order to find that niche.
So which of the seven deadlies have you fallen victim to? Honestly, I’d be lying if I said I was a little art angel. After all, that liquid frisket story was from experience…
Artwork by me, Shelby Farrell