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  • Writer's pictureStuart Jarvis

Concrete Chronicles no.3

Title: Embracing the Dual Path: Balancing Art and Teaching

Recognise that the true measure of achievement is found not in the endpoint, but in the meticulous and steadfast refinement of our skills and approaches day after day.

Teaching intertwines seamlessly with this philosophy. For 20 years, being an artist has been integral to my teaching, now teaching is part of being an artist; This shift in perception has allowed me to embrace my identity as an artist without the self-conscious caveats of yesteryears. There was a time when the title 'artist' brought with it a weight of exclusivity and a touch of aloof arrogance in my mind. Today, I view it through a more essential lens—a way of living and thinking that transcends the outcome-driven frameworks.

Through this blog post, I reach out to all who find themselves on similar journeys, wrestling with time and struggling to nurture their art while honoring their commitments to other responsibilities. You are not alone in this tussle. Whether you are a teacher, a designer, a writer, or someone dreaming quietly in the corners of a corporate office, your dual paths are a testament to your resilience and passion.

The struggle between sustaining a livelihood through employment and pursuing the sometimes elusive dream of living entirely off one’s art is a narrative familiar to many. The notion of a comfortable, full-time career in the arts often seems a luxury, especially amidst the clamorous promises of quick financial returns from various quarters. However, what sustains me—and what I believe sustains the most successful individuals across any field—is not a relentless pursuit of success but a deep-seated love for the process itself.

September 2023 marked a significant transition in my career—I shifted to part-time teaching at a bustling boarding school. This change, albeit slight, has offered me a precious day each week to focus solely on my art. This delicate balance of time between mentorship and personal artistry is a topic that resonates deeply with many who strive to nurture their creative passions while managing the demands of a day job.

The philosophy of perseverance is rooted not in the promise of an end result but in the joy found in the rigor of daily practice and discipline. It is about showing up day after day to hone not just skills but the art of living and thinking like an artist.

Continue to cherish the messy, beautiful struggle of balancing your dual identities. Let’s celebrate the shared experiences of our journeys—not as burdensome ordeals but as rich, intricate tapestries woven from our loves, our duties, and our dreams. Let’s keep these conversations alive, supporting and inspiring one another, as we all strive towards understanding the true value of perseverance.

Please feel free to share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below. How do you balance your passions with your professions?

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