In The Can or Out Of The Can?

Mar 9, 2015 / Photography / book review / art process / artist mindset

There are books that I come across that stay with me for a long time after reading it. Lynda Barry’s What It Is is one of those books. Part autobiography, comic, self-help book, and journal, it is a guide to becoming a writer.

One particular page (as shown above) I still think about four months later. Illustrated within this page are realities of what it means to be an artist. Creating art will not make me rich; it will not make me famous; it will not make me cuter. It will not financially support me unless I do something else at the same time, like teach or get a day job.

So what is the point you may ask?

Because I will be out of the can! It’s really as simple as that. If I don’t create things, I will be in the can–imprisoned. I will constantly feel that I’m missing something, that there should be something more. By creating things, I get to be outside the can. That is what matters.

One of my photography heroes says this sentiment (of in the can or out of the can) in a different way, but it’s equally effective. In his book, Why People Photograph, Robert Adams wrote:

If I like many photographers, and I do, I account for this by noting a quality they share: animation. Photographers may or may not make a living by photography, but they are alive by it.

This advice does not only apply to photographers or to artists only. What do you long for that makes you feel alive? I say do that, whatever it is. You’ll be out of the can if you do.

About the Author

Jonah Calinawan

Hello! I’m Jonah Calinawan, an accountant turned artist.

I create art that makes you think and write about the creative mindset to help and inspire you.

My favorite free finance tool is Personal Capital. Subscribe and receive a PDF where I talk about how I use this tool to financially stay on track.

When not shooting photos, I teach myself piano and recommend Josh Wright’s Propractice video tutorials (affiliate link).

Post Comment

Art Ideas for Kids - So You Can Get Work Done at Home
From Raw Material to Dream
The 5 Second Rule

© 2020 Jonah Calinawan. All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

This website uses cookies to provide a good browsing experience. These include essential cookies that are necessary for the operation of the site, as well as others that are used only for anonymous statistical purposes, for comfort settings, or to display personalized content. Please note that based on your choice, not all functions of the website may be available. For more information about cookies, please visit our privacy policy

This website uses cookies to provide a good browsing experience. These include essential cookies that are necessary for the operation of the site, as well as others that are used only for anonymous statistical purposes, for comfort settings, or to display personalized content. Please note that based on your choice, not all functions of the website may be available. For more information about cookies, please visit our privacy policy

Thank you. Your cookie preferences have been saved.