I saw the above advice on Instagram the other day and admired its pragmatism. It also made me chuckle.
Can any of my Dear Readers relate to the “exhortation” below that I shared with an artist friend recently?
I very much need to be moved by my own exhortation today. I am on my way to a gallery with some of my stuff to show them and I am donning my armour before I go when I hear:
” No, that sucks, we don’t want shit like that in here”, no matter what shmoozy words they use.
Here is my little self-talk intended to douse any flames of self-pity, shame and discouragement that might threaten to burst out:
” It is especially hard not to sell at all after all the joy you have taken in the work and the dedication to the studio time.
I think there is only one way forward out of the misery of not selling and that is to keep on doing what you love. To decide to do that. To simply choose that. To say NO to the voices that tell you your art life is over or should be since the Bottom Line (or whatever ) does not justify it.
Realize with gratitude that inventory of artwork stacked in your studio is not there to accuse you of having failed to sell. What you look at each day is marvellous proof that you have invested in your gift.
The “harvest” in terms of sales volume is not ours to decide ultimately and is never going to be- even if we have a responsibility to market the art we make. We can only plough, sow the seed, water – then gather, we hope, in due time. Is there any other way to look at an art life that lets you keep creating?
The other thing that lights up these dark passages is to look at all you have done to make your art and to support your art sales, then to celebrate every step very deliberately with a conscious expression of gratitude that you were able to carry out each and every step. Everything is grace. Gratitude builds us up.
It is terribly tempting to look at the same efforts and say to yourself: What a waste of my time, my resources, my hopes, my inspirations.
Say “No” to that response. It is possible to choose another response, that is, one that affirms each and every step you have taken to make the art and to put the art out there. You can look at these as if stacked in the studio alongside each other as proofs of your investment in your gift. Or as a stairway to knowing your own heart.
These are works of grace given and used for good, maybe not just your benefit. Possibly others can “take heart and do the art ” from what you simply Show and Tell, not only the Show and Sell
You can choose to look at your own efforts in gratitude, in appreciation, instead of in condemnation which is almost knee-jerk at times.
Accepting to respond in this self-affirming way brings power to build us up, to bring us life in times when we are down and might feel left for dead in the side of the art road.
We choose life by making our art, by choosing to carry on carrying on
Photos next time, Dear Readers! Will be carrying on with my inks.