How 12 Artists and Creatives Faced (and Overcame) Failure

Failure is a normal part of life—a universal experience—and countless famous creatives have failed in the face of their pursuits. Artist Vincent van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime, and it was to a close friend. Despite this, he continued to make art and went on to produce close to 1,000 works in the last two years of his life. Today, some of his most beloved paintings sell for tens of millions of dollars. As humans, we benefit from the inspiring tales of creatives who learned from their failures, as this is when we see their greatest talents surface.

For encouragement and inspiration to support your artistic endeavors, explore the stories of twelve famous creatives who, in spite of initial hardships and failures, went on to have great success, produce important works of art, and secure their legacy as influential and inspiring creatives.

When faced with failure, it’s easy to abandon your craft; the harder thing to do is to confront those failures head-on. We’ve seen this from fashion moguls, painters, entrepreneurs, and authors of some of the most outstanding books and poetry ever written. Vincent van Gogh sold only but one painting during his lifetime yet went on to leave a legacy as one of the most influential figures in the history of Western art. Emily Dickinson published fewer than 12 poems while living, but her mastery of expression solidified her as one of the most important poets in American literature.

Such is the case with modern influencers as well, where media moguls like Oprah Winfrey have overcome great adversity to become the powerful figures they are today. This dedication and drive has allowed each to become appreciated for their contributions, and their successes will live well beyond any failures ever endured.

Sources | CBS News | Glamour | Wanderlust Worker | The Job Network | Speech Buddies | Entrepreneur