On Art & Perseverance: the story behind Jin The Korean Fox

Posted by Nat

Writing was not my first passion. Not even reading, which I do compulsively. The first thing I truly loved is drawing. I would spend hours admiring Michelangelo’s nudes and try (unsuccessfully) to replicate them. So when I came to New York, I signed up for painting classes at the New York Student League. I was very young and I had this notion that talent was enough. That they will give you a brush, a few colors and a canvas and voilà: a masterpiece was born. I was so disappointed with my incapacity to paint without learning that I almost stopped painting right then. I was also proud and stubborn so I kept at it, and after a couple of years could do a portrait nice enough to hang in my room. Patience (or pride, I still don’t know which) paid off.

The importance of discipline, practice and perseverance is something that is seldom mentioned when it comes to The Arts. People talk about genius and talent, but very little about the hours the artist spends mastering his or her skills. Balzac would write every day for hours. Michelangelo—my childhood hero—had almost no life outside the arts.

As technology speeds things more and more, and the addiction to immediacy grows, the idea of spending the 10 thousand hours estimated by Malcolm Gladwell to achieve mastership seem, frankly, just a waste of time. A sacrifice of too many tiny pleasures (liking that photo on instagram, beating that level in candy crush...)

But with immediacy, we actually end of sacrificing something bigger than these small pleasures that have no echo in our lives. We sacrifice exploring ourselves. We sacrifice pushing our boundaries and see how far we can go. We sacrifice the richness and originality that comes from macerating an idea in our head for a long time.

Patience and persistence are the reasons I admire my partner Carla so much.

Once she gets and idea in her head, she will keep at it until she makes it a reality—and the best reality possible. She poured all of her experience and learning (much of it self-acquired) into each of Larry & Friends’ character. She painstakingly added layer after layer of richness to ensure each animal was unique. Each was unforgettable. It didn’t take her a few minutes or days. It took her over one year of focused work. Carla’s story is reflected in Jin’s. The Korean fox knows that “practice makes perfect” and that patience, although out of fashion lately, brings heightened rewards. So if you are trying to write, draw, dance, sing and it’s not coming out the way you dreamed of… simply keep at it. In a few months, when you look back, you will be happy you did.