Shadow ArtistNo, not the kind of shadow artist who makes cool looking animals on the walls using your hand and a lamp (although this is neat and creative so bravo if your into that scene). I’m talking about a  different  kind of shadow art.

Novelist and War of Art author Steven Pressfield illustrates this perfectly in his new book, Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work:

My life used to be a shadow novel. It had plot, characters, sex scenes, action scenes. It had mood, atmosphere, texture. It was scary, it was weird, it was exciting. I had friends who were living out shadow movies, or creating shadow art, or initiating shadow industries. These were our addictions, and we worked them for all they were worth. There was only one problem: none of us was writing a real novel, or painting a real painting, or starting a real business. We were amateurs living in the past or dreaming of the future, while failing utterly to do the work necessary to progress in the present.


A shadow artist is someone who supports other artists in realizing their creative potential but may not allow themselves to follow their own creative path. To determine if you are a shadow artist, ask yourself the following:

  • Do you suspect that you are creative but don’t think it means anything?
  • Are you supporting or encouraging artists but not expressing your own creativity?
  • Are you a casting director, agent, producer, publicist, ad exec, lawyer, account manager or an assistant to an established artist who is afraid to even try to write or paint or whatever because you could never be as good as them?
  • Do you worry that you could not earn your living as an artist, and then not try to follow your own creative dreams?

If so, are you ready to transition?

Leave a Reply