Does an artist ever stop being an artist?

When paintbrushes are tucked in the way back of the closet, when canvases grow dusty, when notebooks filled with old poems become bent and battered from being moved between a variety of plastic boxes, when you answer in an interview “I used to be an actor, I haven’t acted in a long time”. . .is that where it ends?

Or is the life of an artist something that never quite comes to a close? Does the artistry stay alive internally even when the external choices don’t reflect the inner fire?


I have considered myself an artist for as long as I can remember. I have canvases tucked in my bookshelf, I have notebooks filled with mostly crappy (occasionally gripping) poetry and anecdotes, I have photos upon photos from plays I’ve been a part of. I went to college for Theatre Arts, I’m attending grad school for Theatre Education – art seems to live within me, but I ponder this question because externally my artistic habits are waning. It’s been almost a year since I’ve been on stage as a performer, I haven’t seriously taken the time to paint in longer than that. The only remnant of artistry I have is my habit of journaling and writing crappier poems than when I considered myself a poet.

But – will this artistry die? As I step away from the stage and towards the classroom – will my own status as an artist fade away? Will I become the epitome of “Those who can’t do, teach”?

Obviously that is a sentiment I don’t believe in. I want to teach because I love to teach not because I can’t do anything else. I love to teach theatre, I love to share this art I have fallen in love with.

But more and more, I find myself wondering – am I losing my artistry? Will I lose it if I keep going down this path? Am I letting go of my artistic side because I’m afraid…..afraid of putting myself out there in this new state, afraid of not having financial stability, afraid of not being “good enough”?

Or is it merely that my artistry is resting and waiting? Is this merely a time in my life where I have other things to accomplish before my artistry can resurface?


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