What am I so afraid of, really?

I now have just 20 days before I have to deliver all the work and labels for the Urban Scrawl Show. I took some in today to show the gallery samples from each mini-series and to have a discussion about hanging plans and pricing and the all important plans for the party! As I unpacked the boxes the gallery owner put all the pieces out on chairs to look at. I love this photo – don’t they look like they are sitting on chairs in a doctors surgery waiting for their turn?!

Art on chairs

I was mocking myself in the conversation we had there and talking about how I was writing preview invites and had a whole pile done, then sort of ran out of bravery and had to stop writing until I gathered resolve. I had to get a colleague help me deliver some at work because I was so reluctant. Why? What am I so afraid of, really?

Invitation to Urban Scrawl Show

Interestingly when I came home tonight, I got a ping back notification altering me to the fact that Laura Kemshall over at Designmatters TV had written a blog post referring back to an old post of mine which caused some controversy back in the day. Her post is here. And, as her blog does not allow comments (now, there is a good way to avoid getting yourself into controversial hot water for spouting off once too often – I should consider that!), I added my response to her post at the beginning of my original post here. (Goodness this is all getting very circular.)

Anyway, the point of those posts was about whether it is a good thing or a bad thing if you have a strong negative reaction to a piece of art. Laura and I seem to agree its a stellar thing. So, that again, begged the question of me. What am I afraid of really?

Not everyone will like my art. Art is often a matter of personal taste. Thats OK. In fact one of the people I most want to be at my preview I strongly suspect will not particularly the art, and wont pretend he does and I don’t mind at all. I’m just truly glad he is coming to support me in doing what he doesn’t understand, because he does understand it makes me happy.

Some people might hate my art. They might say that their three year old could do it. Frankly I think that with some encouragement and an adult supervising with the sharp tools and willing to teach them, they probably could. That’s no bad thing. Why do we assume that creativity should be a complicated or an adult thing? Two year olds get the joy of it that we so often miss as adult and they are more than happy to admit to painting with their hands! (I did at times, but shhh! I am a fearful adult so it’s a secret!) So, I’m not afraid of someone coming and slating the art or disagreeing with its message. If they have that reaction it means they have looked at it, thought about it and formed an opinion and that they will say what they think. People like that are in my tribe. (As are people who see and love the art!)

Not everyone will buy my art. Maybe no-one will buy my art. I think my gallery might be quite  disappointed by that, but me? Well actually that’s OK if they enjoy the party and are inspired in some way by what they see, or entertained on a boring week day night, or get something from it in anyway at all. The main point of art for me is not about ownership or profit, its about making life better, for the maker and for the viewer, even if just for a moment. (But to be clear, if you are coming and you do want to buy something, the gallery will not object in the slightest!)

So, what am I afraid of really?

I used to hide my art. I used to worry that people would view me, rather pityingly, as The Woman Who Thought She Was An Artist. (Actually ,that a sounds like the title for a children’s book. I should write that one day.) I was afraid that I would be seen as sadly mediocre and not a little deluded.  But its a little hard to maintain that fear when a gallery tells you your work is good enough for them to risk seven weeks of potential sale profits on. Or when people sign up for your newsletter (Thank you, you know who you are and I really appreciate it.) Or when  they leave comments on your Facebook posts or email and let me know they are travelling from the other end/side of the country for the show. (You know who you are too and you are absolutely amazing!)

So, if I am not afraid of people loving the art, hating the art or being equivocal about it, what am I afraid of really?

You know, now I think about it, I have no idea.

If you liked this post you may want to read more about my view of how to deal withThe Fear Monster in this previous post).

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