What’s my definition of success?

Getting to make my best art every day.

Getting to” because it’s a privilege. Life is hard; responsibilities, demanding. Any time and space beyond that to do meaningful work is precious. Having that privilege is success.

make” because it’s magical to create something new. By picking things that already exist, and adding to them what only I can add – my mind, my vision, my voice – I bring to life what didn’t exist before. This magic is success.

my best” because settling for anything less is taking for granted the privilege to create. It’s wasteful, irresponsible, devaluing. My best varies with context, and often, I lose sight of it. In such times, I lean heavily on feedback. Having those who keep me true to my best is success.

art” because what I make seeks to bring an emotional change in someone. A change in their feelings toward a thing around them, or a thing about them, or the present moment itself. And not in everyone, but someone: a specific set of people who value that change enough to pay for it with their time, attention, and money. If this set of people is small, or the value of the change is small, what I am making, even at my best, is not art. I sure won’t get to keep making it. For my work to become art is success.

every day” because success is not an event. It’s a lifestyle – an infinite game where winning means doing my most meaningful work repeatedly for as long as I can. It means having a balanced day, with enough time not only for life, responsibilities, and art, but also for rest, recovery, and recreation. Waking up every day with gratitude for getting to make art, and going to sleep knowing I have given my best today, is success.

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