Calling yourself an artist can be risky. You need to have your wits about you because somebody is going to challenge you and it might come from an unexpected source. One would think that in this time of democracy we can create with carefree abandon. The tools are there easily within reach. Want to paint? You can buy your paints with a few clicks. Why you can even do so from this website! Want to write? Start a blog for free!
So what is the problem? Sadly with the release of creativity comes the opposite reaction to block creativity. Does the world need artists? In these times is art not a waste of time and resources? The economy and world peace and so on? If you can evade these sirens of doubt and create your artwork you then face the gauntlet of opinions designed to drag you down. Is it art? Galleries decide on your future not you! Are you selling? What are your formal qualifications? Is this really going to put food on the table? What will your __________ think if you go professional?
If you heed the voices of doubt and give up your art you are telling yourself in no uncertain terms that you cannot go any further without permission. Permission from a host of third parties who are threatened by your decision. Yes your courage, although quivering inside, compels you to stand up and declare your art to the world. This will provoke a reaction. Some supportive while others indifferent or downright scornful. Every time. Do you listen and if so to whom?
In truth you can only listen to one voice and that is your own. Provided that the voice is the one coming from your soul. The purpose - your path. Not the voice that says you can make money from this or the one that says you will get praise and adulation. These are simply ego trips and will leave you needier than before. Feeding the ego is a gradual process of disempowerment until the rug is forcibly removed from under your feet and you wonder what the hell happened.
So what? So nothing. Look at yourself and make the choice you need to make. Not what others think or say or do. You and I know deep down that creating is our source of energy. Let us not hand this gift over to others for permission to continue. The next time you hear someone labeling other's work in a negative manner know that poison can only kill if you drink it.
A final word is that to accept your gift of energy and power is to acknowledge your duty to work. This is an intensely personal process. Learn and do the work. Live your art every moment and grow day by day.