The Necessity of Vulnerability – Nicholas Wilton – Ep 109
November 22, 2023
ON TODAY’S EPISODE
Where does vulnerability fit into your art practice? Is it something you embrace or avoid altogether? Embracing vulnerability is the key to creating authentic and powerful artwork. It’s also how we grow, not only as artists but as human beings too. Join me as I discuss the necessity of vulnerability, how it impacts our work, and how leaning into it can be a powerful catalyst for our life and art.
Listen if you are interested in…
- A story of vulnerability [2:05]
- Our need for vulnerability as artists [10:38]
- Embracing vulnerability in art-making [18:54]
Give the gift of vulnerability
Vulnerability is an incredible force in art that creates a profound connection with others. It’s magnetic; you’re just drawn to it. We all grapple with the challenge of feeling less than. In my podcasting journey, there are episodes that don’t perform well, and checking the stats feels like a blow. That nagging doubt surfaces: Am I just a hack? We all carry that fear beneath the surface.
We all try to resist vulnerability on some level. Yet, it’s unpolished and imperfect openness that forges a deep connection. It’s what transforms a simple pose into something extraordinary. It creates authentic and powerful art from the raw material of our concerns and worries. Vulnerability inspires and makes the seemingly impossible feel achievable. It’s a generous act, allowing our insecurities to be seen, giving others permission to embrace their imperfections.
Check your ego
One of the biggest obstacles to vulnerability (and ultimately authenticity) is our ego. It’s easy to feel like we’ve arrived after a couple lucky breaks in a row. Maybe you sell out a show or nail your next series of paintings with little resistance. Don’t let personal wins lure you into thinking you’re above it all. I’m a big fan of the idea that courage creates luck, and being vulnerable is one of the most courageous things you can do!
Acknowledging your fear and pushing forward regardless is a portrait of bravery that is more inspiring than any false sense of superiority. The authentic courage that will naturally and inevitably radiate from your life and art will draw people in and connect them to what you’re creating. It’s not just about making art; it’s about sharing a genuine human experience that resonates with others on a profound level.
Embrace yourself to embrace growth
If art-making is the journey of becoming more like yourself, then vulnerability is the compass guiding you. So often, our response to the overwhelming feelings that come with being vulnerable is to make sense of them. If we can create a linear thought process around why we feel the way we do, then maybe we can avoid experiencing pain or discomfort. The reality is we NEED to feel our feelings. Being present in our discomfort is the catalyst for change. Vulnerability is a natural part of being human. It allows us to confront the things we don’t like about ourselves and helps us grow. The more upfront about this growth process we are in our work, the more of ourselves goes into the work. This is how you make powerful and authentic art! The key ingredient was always YOU.\
Resources & People Mentioned
- Daring Greatly (Book)
Connect with Nicholas Wilton and Art2Life
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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.