Art is shipping

February 1, 2011
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Art is shipping

It is very hard to ship. Yet it seems so simple. In fact all I had to do was open an email, attach a file, and click send. But every time I thought I was ready to attach that file, I’d think of something else I needed to add, or I’d see an error that I’d somehow previously missed.

After much labor in writing and editing and rewriting and re-editing, I finally shipped my manuscript for The Starving Artist’s Diet to the publisher. That was a huge load off my shoulders until I realized that I still needed to send illustrations and other art files. So, my momentary joy in the success of shipping had subsided. I was back to the dread of needing to ship again.

Eventually, all the content was delivered to the publisher, and everything was assembled into a final layout. Three weeks later I had my published copies and I was selling books.

Seth Godin said in his book Linchpin that “art is shipping.” Actually, he was quoting Steve Jobs. He also said that art is only art when it has been shared. The artist who creates something and never shows it to anyone has essentially not created art. Just like communication needs a receiver, so does art. In fact, art is communication. This is really just the tree falling in the forest issue, right? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? I guess art is pretty similar. If an artist creates a work and no one is around to experience it, is it art? Along this line of thinking, in order for art to be art, it must be shipped (delivered, given, shared, offered). Until then, it is just work. So, I am proud to announce on my work is now “art.” Art is shipping and I have shipped.