29 August 2012
*everybody* has one
I got an email a couple of days ago that's been kicking around and making me fidgety. I replied privately to it but its something I'm hearing more and more often and I feel like I need to have a sit down and just get it all out in the open.
The email was about putting yourself out there, about worrying what happens if things don't go well. Why bother trying? What if people don't like what you make?
Here's the best advice I can give you: Everybody has an opinion. They base it on personal style or past experience or even just their mood. You cannot anticipate it and if you begin making art trying to predict what people will think, you will loose the joy of it all.
I have heard every opinion under the sun about my art. People aren't shy, believe me. When it comes to the negative ones, I can never really be sure where the criticisms come from. But in the end, it doesn't matter. I have to shake it off and keep on truckin'.
When I am in my studio and I choose to set something loose into the world, its because I'm satisfied with it. I know some people will like it and I know some people will hate it. But it all begins with the knowledge that I did the best I could by it and I'm happy to have my name on it.
If I change the way I make art to a way that I know will please other people but not myself, I've failed.
All of this sounds easy. The words feel hollow because they don't capture the long hours in the studio, the consideration that goes into something as simple as where to put a two inch square of fabric, the intense connection to this thing that others will take in and judge in a matter of seconds.
The thing is, if you want to put your work out there whether through writing an article or entering a show or starting a blog - you're already half way there. Wanting to do it is the first step, the second is deciding that no matter what anyone else has to say, you'll keep going.
Sharing your artwork is like throwing a web out into the world. It connects you to people in a particular way that nothing else can. That's why I do it. Because I feel like I have a special language that can only be told through the things I make. Some people will understand and others will move on. The ones that stay and talk are worth every single second of work and effort that went into making it.
Be brave. Do what your heart is telling you to do. Its very much worth it. :)