You are currently viewing Balancing Art and Life: A Personal Struggle
Finding Harmony: Bartosz Beda on the intricate balance between his passion for painting and the realities of life, showcasing the depth and dedication behind his artistic journey.

Balancing Art and Life: A Personal Struggle

  • Post category:paintings
  • Post author:
  • Post last modified:March 20, 2024
  • Reading time:13 mins read

In the process of being an artist, marked by a relentless pursuit of creativity and expression, I have often found myself at the intersection of art and life. This intersection is not merely a crossing of paths but a complex, dynamic interplay where the demands of one often challenge the boundaries of the other.

As a painter, I am continually navigating this delicate balance. This task requires talent, persistence, and understanding of the self and the external world.

The Symbiosis of Art and Personal Life

Art is not a separate entity from life; it is intensely intertwined. My experiences, emotions, and interactions in life significantly influence my artistic creations.

However, this symbiosis also presents its own set of challenges. The time and energy invested in my art are often at odds with personal commitments and the need for mental and physical rebirth. As a painter, I constantly juggle these aspects, ensuring that everything is addressed.

The bottom line is that it always works out because I think of my practice and life as a long-term game, where temporary setbacks are only a tiny ‘dot’ on the timeline of life.

balancing art and life (1)
Four Seasons, Fall, oil on canvas, 96×108 in (244×274 cm), 2022-23

Navigating the Delicate Creation of Art and Life

In balancing art and life, I’ve learned there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Reflecting on my practice, I see how I’ve managed this balance, which has significantly evolved from my 20s to my 30s.

In my younger years, energy was abundant; all-nighters in the studio were regularly driven by uncontrolled passion and an insatiable desire to create. This period was characterized by a relentless pursuit of artistic manifestation, where time seemed endless and possibilities limitless. Anything is possible, and it is a matter of a single decision to change what’s around me.

As I ventured into my 30s, my approach transformed. It became less about the endless energy of creation and more about strategic thinking. The focus shifted to gathering wisdom, understanding the art world’s intricacies, and preparing for the long-term sustainability of my career as an artist. This phase was marked by a resonant contemplation of my artistic process, planning for the present and laying the groundwork for future decades.

In essence, balancing art and life is a continuous process of adaptation and learning. It’s about finding harmony between the enthusiasm for artistic creation and the practicalities of life, ensuring that each complements the other in this ever-evolving dance.

balancing art and life (2)
Four Seasons, Summer, oil on canvas, 96×72 in (244×182 cm), 2022-23

Planning for the Retirement

As I navigate the intricate practice of creativity and career, I’ve realized the importance of looking beyond today’s canvas to the broader picture of tomorrow. The life of an artist is inherently unpredictable—what’s vibrant and lucrative now might not necessarily remain so in the years to come. This unpredictability isn’t just a challenge; it’s a call to action, especially when planning for retirement.

Like many artists, I’ve dreamt of reaching a peak where my work fulfills me artistically and secures my financial future. Yet, the reality is that not all of us will achieve fame or accumulate wealth through our art alone. Recognizing this doesn’t drain my spirit or drive but infuses a sense of practicality and foresight in me. It’s a reminder that I may need to rely on more than just my art to sustain me in my later years.

This realization has led me to take proactive steps, laying the groundwork for a future where financial worries don’t suppress my creative freedom. From setting aside savings, no matter how modest, to exploring retirement accounts tailored for the self-employed, I’m diversifying my approach to income and investments. It’s about securing my financial well-being and ensuring I can continue to create, explore, and contribute to the art world without the looming shadow of economic instability.

Envisioning retirement isn’t about winding down; it’s about opening up to new possibilities and adventures, perhaps even discovering new mediums and messages within my art. It’s about planning with purpose and intention, ensuring that when the time comes, I can embrace the future with the same passion and curiosity that drives my art today.

Planning for retirement as an artist is not just a financial strategy—it’s a vital component of my creative journey, ensuring that the story I tell with my life and work continues with integrity and freedom long into the future.

Keeping that in mind, my thoughts often focus on daily events. I catch myself frequently not seeing a big goal, which is not what I know but where I want to be.

balancing art and life 3
Four Seasons, Spring, oil on canvas, 96×108 in (244×274 cm), 2022-23

The Role of Discipline in Artistic Life

As a dedicated painter, discipline is my cornerstone – my philosophy to keep painting. It allows me to allocate time efficiently between my studio and personal life. This disciplined approach, akin to a researcher’s methodology, involves setting clear goals and boundaries and adhering to a structured routine. However, art is unpredictable, and often, the creative process needs to conform to set schedules. Balancing these spontaneous bursts of creativity with a disciplined life is a continuous learning process.

Discipline is only sometimes about painting in the studio. I have in mind a discipline, which is a process that won’t take me apart even if I don’t have a studio space.

balancing art and life 4
Four Seasons, Winter, oil on canvas, 96×72 in (244×182 cm), 2022-23

Nurturing Creativity While Maintaining Personal Well-Being

My artistic practice is an intense, complicated process that demands a significant portion of my mental and emotional bandwidth. I have learned the importance of nurturing my well-being to maintain this level of creative output without burning out.

This involves engaging in activities outside the art world, spending time with loved ones, and practicing self-care. These activities rejuvenate me and often provide fresh perspectives that enhance my artistic work. However, the most important thing is to keep a good sleep and diet so my body can stay productive for years.

balancing art and life 6
Whispers 01, oil on canvas, 14×11 in (35x28cm), 2023

The 80/20 Rule in Balancing Art and Life

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, suggests that roughly 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. In balancing art and life, this principle can offer valuable insights into managing time and resources effectively.

In my art practice, this might mean identifying which 20% of my activities contribute most significantly to my success and satisfaction. These could be certain creative processes, specific mediums, or themes that resonate deeply with my audience and me. I can optimize my creative output and artistic growth by focusing more on these impactful activities.

Similarly, applying the 80/20 rule involves recognizing which aspects contribute most to my well-being and happiness—spending quality time with family, engaging in physical activity, or pursuing hobbies that make me stay happy. By prioritizing these activities, I can maintain a healthy balance, ensuring that my life outside the studio enriches my art within it.

The key is to consider and understand where my efforts are most fruitful. This doesn’t mean neglecting the remaining 80% but streamlining or delegating less impactful tasks. In practical terms, this could involve automating certain aspects of the business side of my art, like sales and marketing, or seeking collaborations that allow me to focus more on the creative process.

Ultimately, the 80/20 rule in balancing art and life is about making strategic choices that enhance both my artistic productivity and personal well-being, recognizing that these aspects are profoundly interconnected and essential for a fulfilling career and life as an artist.

balancing art and life 7
Whispers 03, oil on canvas, 14×11 in (35x28cm), 2023

The Art of Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries has been a crucial aspect of balancing art and life. It involves saying no to specific opportunities and demands in art and personal life to maintain a healthy equilibrium. This balancing act is not static but an evolving process, where adjustments are made as circumstances change.

Setting boundaries has become an indispensable part of my journey in harmonizing the demands of art with the essence of life. It’s about the art of saying “no”—a skill that’s as crucial as any technique applied to canvas. This equilibrium between my passion and personal space is not a fixed point but a dynamic equilibrium, continuously adjusting to life’s ever-changing rhythms.

This concept was something I learned from observing my brother, who always kept his workshop adjacent to his home. Yet, he taught me the paradoxical need for separation despite physical closeness. He believed, and I’ve come to realize, that maintaining a distinct divide between the place of work and rest is vital. Even a brief commute can serve as a mental transition, a buffer zone that allows one to switch roles from the artist at the easel to the individual at ease. It’s not just about physical distance; it’s about creating a mental space that allows creativity and relaxation to flourish without encroaching on each other.

This separation has taught me the importance of preserving personal well-being in pursuing artistic excellence. It’s a boundary that fosters both mental health and the prosperity of my work, ensuring that each has room to grow without overshadowing the other. It’s a lesson in balance that has become a cornerstone of my approach to art and life.

balancing art and life 8
Whispers of Echoes 01, oil on canvas, 14×11 in (35x28cm), 2023

Embracing the Struggle as Part of the Creative Process

The interplay between art and life is not merely a challenge to be managed but a core element of my artistic process. This dynamic struggle has sculpted my identity, infusing my work with depth and complexity. I’ve discovered resilience and adaptability by embracing this tension and learning to prioritize what genuinely enriches my life and work.

Ultimately, the quest for balance is a deeply personal narrative woven through my existence as an artist. Each day, I tread this intricate dance of compromise and commitment, steadfast in my dedication to my craft and well-being. With its trials and triumphs, this journey is integral to who I am—Bartosz Beda, an artist perpetually navigating the nuanced landscape of art and life, ever-evolving, ever-learning.