Those few sentences were my initial thoughts when I asked myself; “what matters to me when it comes to my art”? We each should have our own unique foundation. Depending upon ones location, circumstances, and life experiences each foundation will have it’s own unique requirements.
It is becoming far to easy to give into opinion. Would you go along to get along? Would you be willing to be labeled as a non-conformant? Personally I don’t believe there is anything wrong with being a non-conformant. What you do matters. The key word there is “you”. It is up to each one of us to contribute in our own way. One way I have found that is personally satisfying is to not give in to opinion, but to build upon experiences. Those experiences must come with certain conditions and costs. Most noticeably being the cost of vulnerability. When you chose to forge your own path in your own way you will allow yourself to stand out from the crowd. Many times this additional attention is not favorable. To build upon your experiences in order to be a better craftsman is a slow arduous task. There are no guarantees and many times very few external rewards along the way. But the rewards are there it is just a matter of recognizing them.
As one gains experience in the craft they love craftsmanship becomes more and more important. Craftsmanship can not come early in life. This is not to be confused with talent. Talent and craftsmanship are not the same. There may be many talented young artists but it would be hard pressed to claim them true craftsmen without experience to back it up. Talent put to use over a long period of time can lead to craftsmanship. Then again, it may not. Those who have the will, the desire to improve, and grow, most certainly will become craftsman at their chosen craft.
I would press upon those who have a desire to excel in anything in life to be patient. Do the work. And except the multitude of mistakes that will be made along the way. They are all building blocks to a strong fortress that will house you and your craftsmanship.