No Artist is Pleased

Martha Graham in Letter to the World

Martha Graham in Letter to the World

No Artist is Pleased

I saw this quote on Behance's 99u site and it resonated with my belief about the role of an artist. They are the words given to Agnes de Mille by Martha Graham:

It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.

Graham is not speaking about the tortured artist. She is making a plea to be authentic to oneself and to recognize that the quest to be one's best is an odd but true blessing.