When I taught high school art, I found one part of parent/teacher conferences surprising: how many parents were told their own art interest wasn’t valuable or important.
Hi, my name is Carrie and here on Artist Strong I help artists like you build your skill and develop your unique artist voice.
If I listened to every objection and concern people have had about my art, I would never be creating the art I am today.
“You’re too smart for art.”
“You murder your paintings.”
“You should paint more commercial.”
“You shouldn’t paint people, who buys portraits of people they don’t know?”
“Be careful applying for a show with a baby unless you have daycare.”
Others have shared with me some of theirs:
“It’s too late.”
“You aren’t very skillful.”
“You just aren’t an artist.”
The funny thing I’ve noted about these objections is they usually reflect the fears and concerns of the people offering them.
They aren’t really worried about me, it’s about how my choices and actions make them look in the mirror and feel uncomfortable.
For the longest time, I listened to some of these objections. And it wasn’t until recently something clicked. Everyone I admire, everyone doing more than I am for their art isn’t better, smarter, or luckier than I am, they just showed up.
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That’s why I’m here, so passionate about education and supporting self-taught artists and other creatives who benefit from our space.
Maybe it’s because they wish they made art. Maybe it’s because they wonder if they should be doing more with their art.
I don’t know.
But I hope we can all take the time when we feel triggered to self-reflect and ask, “what is triggering here? Is there something I want for myself that I’m not doing?
I want people (you) to see how arbitrary the rules and definitions we hold about being an artist actually are
so you can kick that mindset to the curb, roll up those sleeves, and get to work.
I don’t offer workshops and lessons on skill because I think you MUST be able to draw a certain way or have a level of skill to make art.
I offer workshops like my free drawing challenge because I’ve spoken with countless people who tell me their lack of confidence comes down to feeling they don’t have enough skill.
Since I know anyone can improve their skill, I’m choosing to offer that knowledge so you can overcome that confidence hurdle and make the art you feel called to create.
What are the objections you have heard? I look forward to continuing this conversation.
Thank you so much for this posting! Awhile ago I was told by a popular gallery that my art was “interesting but wouldn’t sell.” I continue to make my “unsellable” art because it satisfies my soul. I enter juried shows now and then. I am now exploring the idea of having a couple of pop up shows a year at my home and studio…. as soon as the pandemic is in the rear view mirror. Have you ever had an open studio day? If so how did it go??
Hi Linda! I’m sorry to hear of your experience, though I’m pleased to read you keep on despite the discouragement.
Remember, galleries are a kind of gate keeper, but even amongst galleries they can have different kinds of art they are looking for…sometimes its about a best fit. Maybe it wouldn’t sell to their audience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own community!
I have not done an open studio day, I have done online releases of work and had some decent sales. No matter your approach, its about building relationships with people interested in your art.
I think my other comment was too long and it disappeared before I could send it. So I will spare you my philosophy, and just tell you the negative comments that burst my bubble.
My HS art teacher, upon hearing my dream to become an artist, came out with a strong “ Oh! You could never do that!” I was completely crushed, and relegated my dream to a sometime hobby.
When I taught I always shared this story with students, admonishing them to never burst someone else’s bubble.
When I took up mosaics, my first major piece made it into a juried show at a Smithsonian associate gallery, the person who was supposed to do a flower arrangement to interpret it failed to show up. Another lady from the floral society, looked at my mosaic and sniffed, saying “It wouldn’t take much effort—-just string some tinsel on a branch and call it good.” Well, damn ME with faint praise!
Oh Brenda, I am constantly amazed at how cruel people can be… and NO ONE gets that mean unless they are triggered by something they see in themselves through you.
I’m so glad you are showing up now, owning your creativity, and let’s kick those naysayers’ nonsense to the curb <3 <3