Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hey, I Feel That Way Too!

by Judy

I love this time of year.  With summer right around the corner there are all sorts of activities and events planned near where I live, and in all the towns up and down the Hudson River. This weekend, a nearby town's Art Alliance has a summer kick off event called Open Studios. 

This is a fabulous day- long event where you can visit the artist in his or her studio, see where he or she creates, asks questions, see how they tick, and view their work.  I'm always in awe when I visit, and to tell you the truth, a little bit jealous.  Some of the artists have beautiful studios overlooking the city streets.  Oh, who am I kidding, even the basement studios are so inspiring, and I love visiting them all!

In the past, I've felt a little intimidated when I enter. What am I going to say? Am I interrupting their artistic flow? I've imagined that they must feel so comfortable and at ease. I've assumed that they feel accomplished and secure with their work, and very successful. 

This year I happen to know two of the artists who will be participating in Open Studios.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that all of my assumptions were wrong!

One of the artists is a photographer, the other creates jewelry and is a painter, and both of them told me they feel very vulnerable letting people into their studios.  Although they tell me they love their work, and feel like they've found their true calling, they both said that at times they feel like maybe, just maybe, their work isn't good enough.  Instead of feeling successful and at ease, they sometimes feel insecurity. One even told me she's waiting for someone to find out that she isn't really "all that."  I must tell you, I was shocked.  Here are two very accomplished artists feeling the same feelings that I have felt, and maybe some of you have felt the same way too.  

Putting ourselves "out there" through our art is difficult.  It can make us feel vulnerable.  We feel exposed. What if nobody likes it?  What if nobody comes?  What if I'm not good enough? For many of us, our public persona is slightly, or greatly, different from our private persona.  We tend to put up walls -  some high, some not so high, but walls just the same.  When we put our art into the world we are exposing ourselves. Our art reveals who we really are, how we see things, and possibly what we were feeling when we created our art.

This summer, as you visit museums, galleries, art shows, and festivals, remember to give those featured artists a little bit of love.  Remember that they are feeling some insecurities as they show themselves to the world.  Remember that they have the same fears as we do, but they took that leap, summoned their courage, and shared themselves.

We create because it's part of who we are.  Show the world who you are. Don't be afraid to pull those paintings out at the next family get-together.  Post your photos on a photo sharing site.  Hang your work in your home for everyone to see.  Enter your work in a contest.  Hang your work in a gallery. Professional and amateur alike, we all feel the same insecurities.  Don't let those feelings stop YOU from sharing yourself.

"Creativity takes courage." -Henri Matisse-



Dotti said...

What a great post, Judy! I do feel that way ... most of the time, as a matter of fact. I remember when I first started sharing my photos online. Accck! But I found encouragement and friendship where and when I least expected. And my early work was really rough. It's still rough ... that's why we love photography, it's a constant journey. But you have spoken to truth and wisdom here today, Judy. Thank you.

Carol said...

I love this, Judy. It is hard - every time to take that plunge. It feels sort of self-indulgent at home, and you question your qualifications when out. But why not fill your home with your passion? And each success is reassurance. These things would have been even more intimidating when i was young, but that's a down-side of youth. I'm glad, at this age, we can finally let the world in - and to revive the sixties - what you see is what you get!

Olivia Fulmer said...

I definitely relate to this. I love this.That feeling of "not good enough" or being discovered to be the woman behind the curtain--a fraud. But I still risk putting myself out there each time I share a photograph. And I keep learning.

terriporter said...

Oh, so true, Judy! We think we are the only ones who feel that we're not good enough, that we're frauds that are going to be found out, that no one will like what we do. I think that is the reason we have to do what we love for ourselves and if other people like it, great. The Open Studios event sounds wonderful and such a great opportunity to see other artists at work and realize they have the same insecurities that we do. Love your street scene! The painted sidewalk is fabulous!

Cathy said...

I love summer for this reason. Lots of opportunity to see art at markets and fairs. For me it is a scary to put myself out there, but scary in kind of a good way, it makes me feel alive. I remind myself constantly that I do this for me, but the fact is we all want encouragement. Great post. I love that wall of photos.

Kim Stevens said...

I have had an awesome opportunity to be part of a group that once a year had an open studio tour (glorified garage, bedroom, etc.) where we wanted to bring awareness that "art" isn't just in an art district or in fancy studios or always done by "professionals" if we can really define what that is. It was with my sculpted silver jewelry before we moved to where we are now. I did feel a bit intimidated though when I was invited into the jury process to be part of the group - there were incredible painters, several wood carvers, a metal sculpturist, and even a furniture maker. It can be scary to put yourself out there, but the rewards of sharing what you love are so great that it can when I allow it, drown out that little evil guy sitting on one side of my shoulder who says "who do you think you are?" Right now, I'm trying to get my nerve to start on a project that many have been encouraging me to do for some time...but it's so hard and a little overwhelming really. Great post Judy!

Sarah Huizenga said...

Opening ourselves up to be potentially criticized is always scary, but I would think more people are warm and welcoming as opposed to critical.

kelly said...

it is always the best feeling to know that i'm not the only one who feels insecure sometimes! loved this post judy...i'm feeling inspired. :) thank you!

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