Have you ever read a phrase that just embedded itself in your mind even though you cannot really remember the context?
Last week an artist friend of mine asked me how I market my work and there it was, popping into my mind like a Perdespookbossie. Also referred to as the Candelabra flower, they seemingly pop up out of the earth with a head of dark reddish pink flowers. Once dry they roll around (presumably scaring horses in the process!) like a tumble weed, scattering their seeds.
My tumbleweed came out of nowhere: I market via one moment of insane courage. It started me thinking though. A lot of what we do as artists are moments of insane courage. Even taking the leap to identifying yourself as an artist takes courage – it means putting yourself and your vision and your interpretation out there in the world for people to see and, well, lets face it: judge.
More often than not we don’t even need the judgement of others as we are usually our own worst critics. But as I have mentioned before, we cannot evolve and develop without a measure of self criticism.
You might find yourself facing fear of a different kind when presented with a new challenge – something simple like an item you have never drawn, a medium you have never used or an audience you didn’t prepare for. Yet it is in accepting those challenges and facing your fears and just realising that the only way out is through that you discover courage and experience growth. In those moments your boundaries shift, your intuitive artistic nature expands and you open a new world within yourself. One moment of insane courage might just be saying yes when you want to shout no or drawing that first line when all you want to do is start a new drawing.
In my experience marketing yourself is very much the same. The worst that can happen is a ‘no thank you’. Making peace with the negative responses means accepting that we are all different and that we are all entitled to prefer different versions of art. A ‘no thank you’ shouldn’t ever be seen as personal – especially where art is involved. Grab that moment and show your work, show yourself and you will be surprised at the amount of yesses that will follow in the wake.
There are moments when I am unsure whether its me or the courage that is insane, but I am thankful for those glimmering moments. Fear doesn’t stop bad things from happening and it certainly doesn’t stop failing – but it does stop life. In my life, art is life and my wish (as I mentioned on my Facebook page today) is that your love for being creative will always outweigh your fear of failure.
No go forth and make art!