5 Things About ...
Posted on 27 October 2015
This list is just my opinion, and is in no way complete or presented in order of significance:
1. Artists are tough-skinned.
Imagine wrestling through weeks of trying to capture an idea, starting over and over again. You finally feel confident enough to display this work, and you're really proud of it. Then, your audience doesn't find it so spectacular. Or, they laugh at it. Or, they say things like, "If this artist learned to draw, this painting might be good." Yes, someone said that to me last year at a show. They had no idea it was my painting. The worst is when another artist you respect looks at your work and simply says nothing at all. My point is that we artists have truly felt rejection over the years and we've learned to deal with it. Yes, it still stings a little when it happens, but rejection is part of our job-description.
2. The most difficult people for creative people to get along with are other creative people.
Birds of a feather . . . of course. Yes, we do love to hang around each other, but our most difficult relationships, although rewarding, are secretly generally with other creative people. I spent 10 years in a co-op of other artists. We all cared for each other, but there were definitely some heated arguments and severed relationships. We fought about how the shows were hung. We fought about show invitations, responsibilities, cleaning, and lack of cleaning. Creatives/Artists tend to inextricably link their ideas and work to their self-worth. "I don't like your idea," really means, "I don't like you." "I've seen this kind of painting somewhere before," means, "You're boring and unimaginative." I've learned a couple of things that really helped these relationships: 1. Be generous with sincere compliments. 2. Have extremely clear expectations when in groups of creative people. 3. Forgive without apology.
3. Artists work harder than you think.
No one would describe "practicing medicine" as a hobby. Or, no one would say, "teaching high-school is my hobby and I love it." Art can be something people dabble in or make their profession. This is why I believe that it's hard for some people to take artists seriously.
Professional artists are the hardest working people I know. On top of making the work itself, you are your own marketing dept., accountant, shipping and receiving, etc. Artists are actually working while using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Most of us work days, nights, weekends, and everything in between. Creative thinking requires emotion, and making art requires physical exertion. A typical day as an artist requires you to wring yourself out emotionally and physically, and you start over the next day.
4. Creative people are frustrated when they can't influence their environment.
Creative people need to have something to influence and direct. If we find ourselves in a situation where we can't change our surroundings, a creative cabin-fever sets in. I remember a specific project that I and about four other artists were working on. It became clear that none of my ideas were being used, so i stopped caring about it. The one person calling the shots was at loss when trying to figure out why the project derailed.
5. Artists are great chefs!
Creativity bleeds over into other areas of the artist's life. If I know i'm going over to an artist's home for dinner, I'm bound to be in for good food and drink. It's almost ridiculous.