Putting yourself out there
"Art is coming face to face with yourself." - Jackson Pollock
Many artists - whether they paint, photograph, compose, sculpt, carve, work in CGI, crochet, knit, weld, make collages, create art in mixed media, or write* - get asked a particular question. Sometimes it's couched as 'What are you trying to say?' or 'What influenced you to produce that piece of art?' or something similar, but you can often reduce the question to a single word: 'Why?'
Why do artists feel the need to create?
Wolf and I have talked about this over the years and my list comes down to:
- Self-expression (a feeling or a story or a concept we want to share, sometimes just to get it out of our system)
- A way of making sense of what's inside us (this can include depicting or even rearranging our experiences)
- A means of exploration (seeing where following certain themes lead us)
- Being inspired by an experience, a person, a place or even a moment
Whatever prompts us to create and however we do it, those creative impulses are filtered through us so that a part of us is discernible in the end result. But rather than being diminished by that aspect of making art, we are enriched by it. We may become bolder, more open, more willing to share who we are.
Unless you are creating art purely for yourself, there can be a sense of vulnerability in having work on show. You may receive uncomfortable feedback (even if it's intended as positive) and there may be some tension between the desire to put your work out there and your desire for privacy.
Here are a few thoughts on navigating that balance and hopefully reducing any stress about it.
1. It's all a choice. You are in charge and you get to decide whether you show your work.
2. If you're concerned about how you might be represented, write your own blurb. Do it in your own words, with your personality. Maybe get a friend to read it back to you or to check the spelling if you're not totally confident with the written word.
3. You don't have to have a photograph to accompany your work. I prefer to let my words represent me and another way to do that is by a short interview. Here's one my poublisher did with me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPOtKKs4SV4
4. Find a supportive community that fits your needs and suits your apporach to your art. Creating art is a pretty solitary process, so meeting others on a similar journey can be a great way of networking and also exploring other artforms.
I write spy thrillers and crime mysteries. I have two series published by Joffe Books, mostly as ebooks (and one of them is The Complete Thomas Bladen Thrillers - a collection of five books in a single volume). It took a long time before I considered my books as art, but that's another story.
You can see my books here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Derek-Thompson/e/B0034ORY08
* apologies to anyone I've missed out in the list