When is art complete?

If you’re a creator, you’ve asked yourself this question before. More specifically, you’ve doubted whether your work is to the standard you expect it to be. You look to your inspiration for a hint of the answer, and are reminded of how prolific they have been over their careers.

An album a year?
A magazine a month?
A dress a week?
A video a day?


How is this possible? How do they finish so much?

They don’t.

“I don’t like finished things because finished is over; dead” – Norbert Bisky.

In his speech at the inaugural PatreCon, Patreon co-founder and musician Jack Conte goes into more detail, explaining the difference between working for pleasure and for publication. It’s an important reminder to artists who might think of the latter as blasphemous (art is art, not content to be pumped out for its own sake) of how their idols forged a career.

He explains it through the funnel method, a process which will entrepreneurs should be familiar with. It’s a process that inspires the continual creation of art, rather than the need to create a masterpiece every time.

One only needs to look at the likes of Stephen King or Aretha Franklin to see the truth in that. Or, conversely, the artists who release one great work every few years, only for a single failure to destroy everything they had worked so hard to achieve.

It’s not easy to create. It’s not easy to complete. But when we do both selflessly, the need to strive for such a subjective goal as perfection fades away.

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