Oh F*** People Are Looking!
An artist spends much time making their invisible world visible, and for long periods of time this stays invisible to most of the word, either it is not ready to be seen or the rest of the world is not ready to see it. When one catches up with the other and the art emerges out into the wider world a strange thing happens. Suddenly the artist realizes that people are looking at their work, the walls of their studio have turned into crystal and every thing they ever made stands bare and alone without the shelter of secrecy. This is the day the artist has long awaited but what happens now?
Why did I take such rushed photographs of my work? Why did I group my work like that, it looks so disjointed, why did I leave that writing the way I did without re-reading it? But most of all why did I waste so much time not believing in myself as a real artist? Worrying that my work would neither be the sort of art that the majority people would hang in their homes or ever be shown in the art museums and respected art establishments, but fall somewhere between the two in the great void.
One answer is to never shrink your talent to suit your immediate surroundings, you may not live in New York but there can be great artists living and working in tiny places too, can’t there? Do not rely on the fed back of strangers or even worse the lack of interest, it is no reflection on your work. I have come to learn that in many places many people don’t care about art.
One day out of the blue many people start to look at your work, are you serious about your work now? Nothing has changed your work was just as real before other people started to notice. It can be hard to keep your courage when even mediocre galleries turn you down, every application comes back months later saying you did not get the award/bursary/exhibition this time but do try again next time. You and a few others really believe in your work, but why does it take so long for other people to respect it? I have some ideas but I don’t really know. The art world is predominantly a fickle world. Commercial galleries have to make money to stay open so they have to sell art, and to sell art the artist often has to start to imitate themselves so people feel secure about what they are buying. If your work does not fit neatly into a box then people have not the time or energy to work out if it is of any value so they move swiftly on to the next artist for there are always plenty more artists.
So don’t wait till the rest of the work gives you permission to feel like a real artist. As my husband and muse, James advised me many years ago if you want something then pretend you have it already, so if you want to be a well respected artist then pretend you already are and it will be much easier and quicker for everyone else to realize it if you realize it first. What would a well respected artist do ?