This is fundamentally a piece about growing a thick skin. Why because when you have someone say to you, as I did about my work in an exhibition only last weekend, ‘I love your work, but my husband will hate it’. What do you say and how to you let it affect you?
We all come to making art in different ways and without doubt at some point we are all hit with or by the same insecurities about being good enough. Which is not helped by those thoughtless remarks.
If only we could continue making work like we did when we were young children with no fears, then our work would be outstanding. But that all changes around the age of seven and we start questioning our ability, we start comparing ourselves to others and we start to try and please.
What we all need to do is make art for ourselves.
We need to start ignoring the critics in our heads and at our doors. By pretending to yourself that no one else will ever see what you are doing, you can start to be free again to express whatever makes you happy rather than worrying about what your audience will say.
And I know you are thinking ‘that’s easy for you to say’ and please let me assure you that it is not easy.
We have all had a lifetime of hearing those comments from other people be it friends, family, teachers, exhibition jurors, gallery owners or as I experienced, exhibition visitors. but if you want your work to be an expression of who you genuinely are, iIf you want your work to be received by your audience as original and an honest reflection of who you are, you MUST tune them all out. And let be honest, we don’t really know what people are thinking so why fill you head with what you think, they might be thinking. By removing the thoughts, making work just for yourself, you can start to experiment for yourself, digging deeper into what makes you smile and produce work that you care about, not what your think other want.
So how did I react to the lady whose husband would ‘hate my work’. I smiled sweetly and said ‘oh dear, men! But it’s your home too. Christmas is only just around the corner, take my business card and get in touch if you can persuade him to have something you would love to have on your walls’.