To define success can be tricky, especially in cases like this famous artist who quit painting in his later years. But more important is why he made that decision:
High Renaissance artist Sebastiano del Piombo decided to quit painting in his later years. Criticized by his decision, as everyone thought that he still had genius to share on canvas, he gave his reasons.
“There are now men of genius who do in two months what I used to do in two years. If these masters can do so much, it makes sense that at least one does nothing. So here I am.”
You might think that Del Piombo’s reasoning is a bit flawed… after all, wasn’t he a master himself? with a name already established, he could have kept on painting.
It’s worth noting that the artist had no need to paint for fame or money anymore, because of both of them he had more than enough.
But I think I have an idea about the real reason why he quit painting, and I’m going to share a personal anecdote about this.
Around the year 2002 I discovered 3D modeling and I was hooked instantly. Creating realistic objects in 3D applications became my day and night obsession.
Combined with my push to communicate, I became an unofficial ambassador of 3D visualization for many industries. Medical, Engineering, Scientific… until finally settling with architectural myself.
At the same time of working in 3D architectural renders, I spread the word for my peers. I gave seminars, public speeches and even developed an one-on-one course that was a nice side income.
I was such a fan of 3D art that I enjoyed creating it as much as I enjoyed others discovering their creative possibilities that had been out of reach for so long.
But around 4 or 5 years down the line, something obvious happened.
Tools evolved quickly, and more and more younger artists began to pop up everywhere. What Del Piombo experienced in his older years, I experienced myself in a handful. What at first could take me hours or even days of discovery, now could be done at the touch of a button.
I wasn’t sour or anything. I was almost expecting that day to come. What used to take weeks to make, now could be done in a matter of days… if not hours.
The feeling of discovery, of unlocking new levels, of exploring new grounds, was gone. Yes, the systems became more efficient than ever…
…but the ‘art’ had lost some of its charm. Like today’s AI “art”, to which I still have my reservations.
With so much competition, and with so many new apps and tools popping up every week, I knew the market was about to be saturated.
So It was my time to move on, and in 2008 I stopped my 3D art career completely.
The good part is that I was just discovering something else to get obsessed with… social media. But that’s a story for another writing.
What I want you to reflect with all this is that sometimes we can pour our heart and soul not only on projects, but in whole trends that spark whole industries around you.
And It’s fascinating watching it unfold before your own eyes, and see your students shine and be successful, remembering their faces the first time they created a simple cube with realistic lighting and shadows.
But times change. And I’m still baffled that I managed to do so much in around 5 or 6 years of my life.
So the most important lesson that I got is that you must know when to quit. In my case, when the emotion of discovery of the unknown was transforming in just a competition of who could churn out the most 3D visualizations, the quickest, and cheapest.
Art became a chore, and for me, that’s the ultimate sin.
But I did not go full Del Piombo; I just moved on into something new. Fresh waters. Different shores. And it worked.
The hardest part is knowing when to quit.
I don’t know the exact answer for you (I can’t possibly know if you have this question), but what I do know is that the signal you must look for is:
It’s no longer fun to explore and discover.
If there is no more to expand, no more to conquer, no more to develop… then it’s time to move on.
Maybe others will be able to see what you don’t… but you’re not them.
Your journey is unique.
And in such unique journey, you’re in command.
If all else fails, trust your gut.
Much Love and Bliss,
The Body Language Guy.
P.S. Remember that you can download my free 100+ Body Language tips here: https://knesix.com/tips