Being an Artist Will Never Fulfill You

Being an Artist Will Never Fulfill You

Why being a professional artist will never make you happy


Many people dream of being a professional artist or writer. They think that by switching from a normal career to a creative one will change their level of happiness.

In 2019, I attended Trojan Horse was a Unicorn (THU 2019) in Malta. At the time, I was responsible for a data science team in a large bank. I remember talking with a concept artist working in a mobile video game company. As she was telling me about her job, I remember being shocked how similar her experience and feelings were with people in my team and my colleagues in different countries. During the week there, I also attended different presentations by professionals of the concept art industry including a talk by a producer who worked on a well-known IP. As he was explaining the development process of a vehicle, it reminded me a lot of the usual meetings I had in banking. The setting of Malta and the conferences were very well organized and extremely pleasant. However, I was shocked to see how stressed and unhappy people were compared with what I expected. The movies and videogames industries had nothing to do with the people who developed the movies and videogames I treasured during my childhood. They had become corporations making entertainment products. And we see more proofs of that every time a new videogame or movie is released. Now, when new creative and good products are released, they seem more like happy accidents and surprises.

Another important thing to understand is that this lack of fulfillment does not only apply to creative corporations. If you read the The War of Art of Steven Pressfield or interviews from many professional writers, actors, artists and designers you will see that it applies to nearly everybody working in a creative field. Creatives enjoy the products of their process but nearly none of them is fulfilled by the process of actually creating. They have to spend a lot of mental effort and develop a strong discipline to create enough to be able to make a living.

Understanding the Root of the Problem

Everything people do in their life is done either to avoid pain or to pursue pleasure. It is not more complicated than that. If you want to understand this point deeper, ask yourself this question: of all the activities you do every day, is there a single one which is not to avoid suffering or bring positive feelings?

- You do not really enjoy watching movies, you like the positive feelings they bring.

- You do not like your spouse, you enjoy the positive feelings they bring into your life.

- You do not enjoy being a good person, you just want to avoid feeling bad about yourself.

If we had pills, we could take to take care of all of these positive feelings, we would certainly prefer pills. This is why technology is disrupting so many fields of the Human experience. It is not that people became more lazy or less social, it is just that before they did not have a choice. And this is a trend that will accelerate very fast in the coming years. People will more and more only do what they truly want to do and less and less what society and tradition commands. Commitments, social pressure, traditions, religion, everything that enslaves humans is being removed and replaced by freedom.

The irony is that creation is the only human activity that works in the reverse of that. Instead of doing things to improve our inner peace, happiness and satisfaction, creation is doing things to manifest our inner states into the world. Our inner peace, fulfillment, ideas, feelings and emotions are the building blocks and fuel of what we create.


This is why being an artist but looking to be satisfied with creating art is technically impossible. Either you have a thriving inner world full of peace, joy and ideas to share and then your creation is already fulfilled, and it does not look to complete your inner self in any way, or you have some inner conscious and self-conscious lacks you want to fulfill using your creative process.

This is the main mistake aspiring artists make, they see their inner lack as potentially fulfilled if they just work hard enough and become successful. They do not understand that technical ability, intelligence and drive can never replace inner fulfillment. Everything they create is tainted with their inner fears and lack of joy.

And this is why being an artist can never fulfill you. It can bring you money, fame, the respect of others and a legacy but never fulfillment. Only young children before they develop an ego and people living outside of duality can create from a state of inner peace and joy.