“ART IS THE ONLY SERIOUS THING IN THE WORLD. AND THE ARTIST IS THE ONLY PERSON WHO IS NEVER SERIOUS.”
Oscar—who was a playwright, and a brilliant one at that—gets the spirit of this crazy business perfectly—whatever be the particular nature of your creative obsession. It is all about committing totally to an endeavor that practically guarantees chronic financial insecurity—with all its attendant side-effects—while retaining your sense of humor. You had better. You are going to need it.
Trust an Irishman to nail it. After all, Ireland possesses a rather crazy culture despite every effort made over the last twenty years to turn the country into a modern efficiency state; yet its creative track record, for such a little country, is unsurpassed.
We won’t talk about architecture. That is something of a blind spot. Still, the British left us a lot of remarkably fine buildings (many of which we were idiotic enough to either blow up or burn down after Independence) but we have more than compensated through prose, poetry, music, painting and sculpture—and we have produced some seriously talented actors and directors.
Of course you can be an artist in almost any field—from terrorist bomb-maker (a not unknown occupation in Ireland) to plumber (we have some of those too) but I guess what distinguishes the artist from the profit oriented businessman is that the former is focused on the excellence of the work to the exclusion of nearly all else—while the latter, albeit doubtless proud of his achievements, is primarily profit oriented.
The convention is that business is fundamental, whereas art is a luxury. I regard that as a deeply flawed assumption. I believe art is as necessary to the wellbeing of the human condition as good sex, or a decent bottle of wine—and both have been known to go together rather well.
But, that’s just a personal perspective.