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.