Are you ready to be seen? This seems like a pretty basic question but I am realizing that for many people the answer is not completely a yes. I am speaking of their Art, whatever that may be, but because your Art comes from you, it is actually quite a bit closer to home than your Art. It is actually about you.
It is a natural desire to want to bring more creativity into your life. I see this over and over again with people I meet. Most people are not able to drop into this arena as much as they would like in their lives. The tricky part about Creativity is that there is always something, be it a painting, a song, piece of sculpture, a manuscript—something that will be created. This thing will be outside of ourselves. It will be seen and then it will be judged by others. There in lies the fear.
The bigger our statement, the more daring we go with scale or audience, which in turn increases the potential for judgment. Just posting on Facebook, or putting up a website, potentially exposes you to thousands of people. This can be challenging. It is this reluctance – caused by fear – that can so easily stifle our creativity or block our dreams from materializing.
I get stuck in this place too. And then I remember this: the best work, the best art, the best writing, the best conversations all contain within them this element of vulnerability. It is almost as if good work of any kind should have at least a small amount of Fear associated with it. I believe that is what good work actually is…work that is born out of taking a risk, going a little further into the center of the stage, allowing your work and as a result, you, to be seen by others even if you are not sure.
My new trick I do on paintings that are turning out to be just mediocre is to do something bold, something unplanned, something irreverent, something that I do not know will work. I just totally wing it. This “deliberate mistake” in midstream can really bring something interesting to the work. We think struggle and unsureness are limitations but I see them more as fundamental building blocks to great work – of any kind. When we are nervously moving away from what we know, into uncharted areas, we expose ourselves. When we allow ourselves to be seen even when we don’t know the answer, then and only then do things get interesting, not just for us but for everyone else as well.
In regards to our work, simply stated, the more we can show of ourselves the more personal and different our work will appear. This is a crucial little idea that is at the heart of the only business plan I teach to creatives who are trying to expand their following. The idea being that work that is more like you will be more unique (because everyone is utterly different from everyone else!) and if you are willing and brave enough to make work that feels like you, to really figure out what you love to make, then and only then will the outside world really start to take notice. The world, it turns out, craves things that are as different and unique as you. But first, you have to be willing to be seen.
the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.