I am a professional artist (oil painter) in Asheville, North Carolina. I have an open studio in the River Arts District and the front part of my studio is my art gallery/work area (where my artwork is hanging, and where I do most of my painting). In the back (behind the curtain) is where the messy or secret stuff happens (to get back there, you have to learn the secret handshake). So during the day, I'm usually painting just to the right of the doorway out to the street, and I talk to people all day long and answer questions about my work. So the other day, I had a couple breeze through my studio without saying a word to me, and then leave, planting themselves into the chairs I have just outside my door. Because I work right on the other side of the door, I could very easily hear the man exclaim to his wife, "well I know, but it's ridiculous! I wouldn't pay half what he's asking for that!"
So, if you're an artist, what do you do with comments like that?
I would like to take a few blog entries and share some thoughts that have been developing in my mind. I think it would help me to put these thoughts to virtual paper, and they may (?) help some other artists that struggle with insecurity.
Most artists I know fall into basically two camps: The "angsty" artist and the terrified artist. That first camp (the "angsty" artists) would say, "I don't care WHAT people think of my art! It's MY art and I'll do what I want to do with it and if people like it, fine. If not, I really don't care." If that's where you're coming from, and that singular sentiment describes you, that's fine. My hat's off to you, but you're probably not making a living selling your artwork are you? I say that because when you make your living by selling your artwork, expressing yourself is crucial but...you have to be listening to critique well and sometimes adjust what you do in order to sell your artwork.
Ha! I can hear the angsty artist crying "SELLOUT!" It's about expressing yourself! It's not about making money!" Again, my hat's off to you, but I personally prefer expressing myself AND making a living selling my artwork. What is wrong with listening to critique and evolving your craft as a result? Do you think listening and considering another opinion makes you small and weak? It's really easy to think we already know what we're doing, but input (if we take it in) can actually help shape what we're doing as time goes by, don't you think?
More on the "angsty" artist in my next entry.