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. :)


Ineke said...

I totally agree!!People do talk anyway.

Judi Hurwitt (Approachable Art) said...

Love this post, and you! :D

Mia Bloom Designs said...

Well said! Staying true to yourself as an artist is the only way to be. Your blog and artwork inspires me.

Jeannie said...

Well said!!! If we all liked the same things or had the same tastes, how boring would that be? It is like puppies. Some of us like Westies, others Corgis, and then there are the Pit Bull group. Are any of us wrong? No, we just see something different that appeals to our soul. You go girl!

Anonymous said...

For me, I find the approval of my peers and support of my fellow artists important in the sense I NEED to connect and communicate with my art- it can't just hang there. I need dialogue. Seeking this means I need to put my work out there and contribute in other peoples creative lives... And there are some very odd, very rude people out there. So I agree. Don't pander. Keep your integrity. Know yourself. Value and respect yourself. And acknowledge bad critique (by this I mean examine it and the person giving it and say aloud (privately if you wish) 'i completely disagree'). We are allowed to do that. That's the best bit. I don't even say sorry or thank you. I have nothing to apologise for and certainly nothing to thank them for. Good feedback on the other hand may be either positively or negatively inclined but it's ALWAYS good, helpful, informed, supportive and most importantly useful. I've learnt that a lot of people that give very cruel feedback or troll you are simply waiting to see your reaction because they have no idea how to react to the negativity and bullying they face in their lives and they're seeking a role model (in a very bad way). So stay classy and be brave.

KAM said...

Sometimes, often, I create because the idea is inside of me and just wants to get off the sketch pad and into a piece of creative execution, be it jewelry, paper, fiber, fabric.. the joy is in the pulling ideas from within and watching those ideas come to life. Will this "creation" be mine for a place in my home or in my yard? will this be a gift for someone in my life? Do I want to put a photo into the cyber world? or enter a show? all questions that work together to help me decide just what I want to do with the newly completed creation. It is my joy to create, and you are so spot on about opinions of others not be the steering mechanism for our work. And, your thoughts about shaking off the negatives and listening to creative and constructive words yet still maintaining your own creative voice, well put. I appreciate your blog and read with delight your thoughts and inspirations.

HollyM said...

I agree with everything that you've written. I could not have written it as well, but i have been thinking about just these things recently. I've been lucky so far, having a small following, I've not gotten negative responses to my work.
I can't imagine what kind of person would do that. I have learned form the work world though not to take things personally and to move on.
I'm in a bit of a doldrums right now, just kind of thinking about where I want to go with my work. The main thing that I decided is that whatever I do,I want to try to go where my mind leads me, do what draws me and try to forget what everyone else is doing.
That is why we do it isn't it? We must express in our own unique way what pulls us into a subject.
I've had a few people ask me if I could do a similar thing but with this or that item, maybe a particular animal, for example, featured. Of course not, Id do my art according to what has my interest at the time.
Thanks for this discussion!