Living on the fringe requires of the artist a great deal of discipline and strength to counter the chaos of public opinion, which can then become the catalyst to a downward spiral.
In a world of subjectivity we seek validation from the outside and when we don’t get it our entire persona can crumble in self-doubt.
Art is a gift, a voice to protect, but our need to reach out must be stronger than the voices emanating from the crowd, lest we be silenced forever.
“Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.” 
Another version of that is: “What you think, you become” 
Does a monk require a diploma in monkhood to prove that he is, in fact, a monk?
I think not.
Debbie Millman’s words ring out like a war cry: “Imagine immensities…”
We live our lives following that need to create…waking in the middle of the night with an idea; an idea that makes the ‘unknown known’.
In her letters to Sherwood Andersen, Georgia O’Keeffe explains that a work of art results from taking something one has perhaps not understood completely, something one has felt or experienced as our spirit travels the unknown and turning that emotion, that experience into something ‘known’.
She further defines the unknown as something that is so important to the artist that it must be investigated, whether consciously or not, it is something that must be done, ultimately resulting in a work of art. 
This is what gives every artist their identity, their form.
We all have different versions of the unknown.
Our individual spirits travel many lands as we build our castles in the sky, with integrity, whether we fail or succeed.
Our individual lives become our signature.
“If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal — that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself…. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.” Henry David Thoreau