If you’re managing a project, figure out what the scarce resource is (it’s not usually money). Climbing Everest? It’s warmth and weight you care about, not how much the sleeping bag costs.
Scarcity creates value.
— Seth Godin
As artists – and remember, you’re already an artist – our most remarkable trait is always our vision, our perspective. It’s the ability to see something – a dab of paint, an autumn landscape, an impoverished community, a hungry child – differently than others see it. Whether you are a visual artist, an artist of technique or performance, an artist of action and change – our unique perspective on what is beautiful and necessary is what is ultimately scarce.
For the artist alone holds her vision.
The vision comes and goes, mostly goes, but I live for it, for the moment when the mountains open and a new light roars in spate through the crack, and the mountains slam.
— Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
But an artist’s vision is even scarce to her. She doesn’t view the world as a constant revelation. Her vision appears in fits and starts. It appears in bursts of understanding and a great sense of “ahhh….” Release. Rest.
She doesn’t always look through an artist’s eyes.
These moments – though few and especially far between – are what gives her art substance, the subtly of shape & form. These moments are what fulfills her need to create and commune with the divine in the world and outside it. These scarce moments are what she desires.
We are driven hither and yon by one desire after another and sometimes by several desires at once, and we shall get no rest until we rest in “God.” For the name of God is the name of what we love and desire.
— John Caputo, On Religion
Comfort as an artist doesn’t come in forcing more of these moments into being. Comfort comes in recognizing each moment of clarity as a special miracle.
And miracles are scarce.