“To all viewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork. To you, and you alone, what matters is the process: the experience of shaping that artwork. The viewers’ concerns are not your concerns (although it’s dangerously easy to adopt their attitudes.) Their job is whatever it is: to be moved by art, to be entertained by it, to make a killing off it, whatever. Your job is to learn to work on your work.”
This quote is from page five of Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland. Followed by, “Virtually all artists spend some of their time (and some artists spend virtually all of their time) producing work that no one else much cares about.”
|Being Born Is Important - Gift I made for a friend|
These might be the most profound and useful words I have come across about being an artist. They also could not have come to me at a better time. Oddly, I have started to read this book about a half dozen times or more, and never made it past these first few pages. Apparently I wasn’t ready yet. I was ready this time. I’m almost done with the book, and as I hit a certain part I found I wasn’t as “into it” anymore, and then I realized why. I’m not “there” yet. I’m not far enough along in my artistic story for those chapters to speak to me. I will read them anyways and file them away in my brain to seek out again later when I am ready.
I’ve always been pretty wound up about my work not selling. I was looking for validation outside the experience and I need to learn to move away from that. I need to learn to mind my own business and just focus on the making of the the art. (Even if I eventually need to rent storage space to hold my now close to three hundred pieces of fiber art!)
I have starting finding what speaks to my soul in creating art. It’s not creating for other people (by that I mean, trying to make things that I think people will like or want to buy.) In fact, I just had a piece sell that was a UFO I finished up and shared on my Facebook page. This piece was from a challenge in a small group of artist’s I am in. I thought nothing about what others would think (other than I figured I might be the only person that like the dizzying effect it has on your eyes!) It sold within a couple hours of being shared on Facebook. (Keep that in mind if you question if social media has any bearing or positive effect on artists, this was the second piece that I sold “without trying to” on Facebook.)
|Close up of "Down the Rabbit Hole" that sold.|
I will be focusing on my own work and I don’t mean the finished product. I mean the “getting shit done” part of getting my hands dirty (or linty as the case may be!) I will take time to enjoy the processes I go through, the habits and skills I have and continue to hone in my craft. I will give respect to the feelings inside when I create, the feelings of anticipation, excitement, satisfaction (or sometimes dissatisfaction.) It all eventually comes back to being “mindful” doesn’t it?
What about you? Are you minding your own business and focusing on your work? Maybe that school teacher phrase of “Keep your eyes on your own papers” is actually the best piece of advice they can give artistic types too?