What I am struggling with as an artist

About a year ago I met up with a group of artists.  The conversations were varied and interesting.  Then we turned to one question that we all had a problem with.  What do we each feel embarrassed to be struggling with regarding our art?
I was hesitant at first to give an honest answer to the question as it made me feel vulnerable. However, I was pleased I did give an honest answer as I learnt a lot from the response. I have my first solo show for a number of years starting on 18th April 2018. All of the feelings and embarrassment about my art had resurfaced and I thought I would share them with you.
 
My response to the question was that, I don’t feel comfortable selling my work.  For some reason, I thought I was the only one who felt like that. To my surprise, I was relieved when all the other artists agreed that they felt the same way too and l quickly realised fear and doubt are endemic in artists’ lives.
 
Let me explain further.  I don’t enjoy selling my art and the thought of rejection often stops me from trying to. I don’t want to force my work on other people. But I feel that if someone rejects my paintings they are also rejecting in me.
 
The discussion turned into a self-help discussion where everyone had some helpful advice to share on this issue. The first response that got me thinking was, ‘Would I prefer my art to be in my garage or on a potential collectors wall?’  This sentence stopped me in my tracks and made me re-think.
 
Advise soon followed;  I need to change the idea of selling from fear to a pleasure. When I have an exhibition, I need to focus on the positives of building friendships and relationships with other artists and art lovers. I need move away from the thought I am going to sell painting today to, l am going to make a new friend today.  I need to see that I am trying solving a problem for a potential collector by sharing my art.  
 
After all, what is the worse that can happen? I may feel nervous but what is wrong with that?  I could end up educating someone about art.  I could have the opportunity to add beauty and colour to over peoples homes and show them what l see.
 
If don’t show my art, what is the price I will pay?
As a creative person, I would miss out on achieving self-contentment through my work. I would miss out on developing a visual language that holds the viewer’s attention.
 
I know I want to have an adventure. I want to challenge things. I want to gain new knowledge.  I want to achieve recognition for my unique talents. However, l realised that by avoiding what needs to be done, I will always be disappointed and dissatisfied with life.
 
I need to consider the cost to myself of not showing my art. If I avoid showing my work, what might my life look like in one year, three years or ten years time? I guess that there is an easy answer; there will no change.  On the other hand, it is hard to predict what will happen if l do show and sell my art.
 
I thought I was avoiding pain by keeping my paintings to myself but in fact by hiding them away I causing myself more pain.  Everything we do, we do for a reason. I didn’t paint these painting to be hidden away. I need to believe in my capabilities to change, to adapt and to expand.
 
By asking myself two questions, I hope to finally achieve a personal breakthrough by associating pleasure with sharing and talking about what I love to do.
 
What will it cost me if I don’t let this negative belief in the value of my art go?
 
What would the benefits be by attempting to sell, to progress and to move forward achieve? Hopefully success….
 
I am about to find out…
 
I am therefore pleased to invite you to my Charity Art Sale in Rugby Art Gallery, Floor 1, from 18th to the 26th April.
 
Stuart Bush’s Charity Art Sale 18-26 April 2018
©Stuart Bush – These 4 postcards titled, ‘A will to live’ are available unframed for a special price of £7 by clicking on the image.
©Stuart Bush, ‘Saturate’ – These 4 postcards titled, ‘A will to live’ are available unframed for a special price of £7 by clicking on the image.

 

Please click here for exhibition postcards

2 thoughts on “What I am struggling with as an artist”

  1. I like connecting with other artists very much as I love to hear their thoughts about how they work and why and then what they do with it!
    Art, I would argue, is something that some people, artists, feel compelled to do. I do not put my work for sale as most of it is very personal to me and I think it comes about out of a need to record, analyse and understand my life. Sometimes though, I don’t know what it’s about until after it has been made.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Sue. I agree it is very hard as an artist to get out there. An artist studio is a safe place to practice. Self-doubt and fear of failure can hold artists back.

      Over time things have changed for me. I see things differently now. One of the interesting articles that helped convince me was about Vivian Maier, a lady that took photographs all her life. No one knew about her secret life as a photographer. When Vivian died all her 100,000 photographs where found. Her talent went unnoticed all her life. I found it a very sad story. Please check out these links.

      http://www.vivianmaier.com
      https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/film/2014/jul/17/finding-vivian-maier-documentary-review
      https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/jul/14/vivian-maier-rarely-seen-photographs

      Let me know if this has any influence on your outlook. Art also is about educating and sharing. It seems a shame not to visually contribute and share your intimate journey. If you don’t share what you record, analyse and understand, you will never know if you had a purpose to communicate as an artist or not. Good luck Stuart

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