“Lucci” 12×16, Oil on Linen
I am thrilled that this painting was such a successful entry in a recent show. I entered it in the Matthews Art Guild’s Fall Show, which is part of the Matthews Alive Festival. Happily it garnered an honorable mention from the judge, “Colton’s Choice” from the town manager of Matthews and “People’s Choice” from the viewers who saw the show. Of course I love the accolades — but it also brings up some other things that I’ve been ruminating on lately. Hence the title of this blog post “The Little Voices in My Head”.
This whole business of art is just that — a business. Yes I love it and would do it no matter what, but hopefully it will provide financial support as well. And in the pursuit of making that happen we have to, like any other business person, try to get the word out about our product. That product just happens to be the result of sweat, tears, elation, frustration and a piece of our souls. We are told repeatedly by all the “experts” in marketing to: put it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your website, email, newsletters, etc. etc. Basically put it out in as many ways as you can. But it’s weird and strange to do that with a “piece of your soul”.
Everyone is so kind and gracious — and of course I love the compliments. In a way too much! It sometimes feels like my self-esteem is tied into it. You get that “high” from hearing those words. Which lasts for a short while then you’re looking for your next “fix”. It’s a weird thing. Puts a lot of your evaluation of yourself in the hands of your followers — which can be really self defeating. And then there’s the concern that people will think you’re “bragging”. I’m embarrassed by all the attention, and yet it’s a piece of the puzzle in moving my career to a bigger level.
Just read an article in Charlotte Magazine called “The Last Tweet” by Matt Crossman. He deliberately took a break from all the social media for a month. He is a journalist so he also uses social media to promote his work. To quote him: “…social media has turned every story into a contest entry. I ‘win’ if my story generates Tweets or retweets or likes or shares or comments on Facebook. I ‘lose’ when social media ignores my story.”
“People with Twitter and Facebook accounts have become the authoritative arbiters of what’s good, and I spend way too much time hoping they will express their pleasure because, I think, that praise will make me happy. Which it does. Only it never lasts. Because it’s never enough.”
Matt’s story rang so true to me. Been there done that! Keeping in touch with my own sense of who I am and my self -worth independent of anyone else’s evaluation is a constant struggle! Of course I think this is true no matter what — whether you’re an artist, journalist …whatever!!! To simply look for your own guidance and what fulfills you is not always an easy path. Don’t get me wrong — I love my people. And I love hearing their kind words! But, it is a catch 22 on an emotional level.
This has a been an amazing year for me. I deliberately set out to enter as many shows and contests as I could. And I’ve had great success — which is very affirming as an artist. And a great resume builder. Also a bit daunting — what’s next? Can I continue this level of reward? And getting the acclaim is one thing — what about the financial payoff.
On and on go the little voices in my head…