Last Saturday I was attending my monthly meeting of the National Speaker’s Association.
One of my colleagues delivered an awkward and nervous presentation.
It seems that she attempted to memorize her speech and it was peppered with catch phrases that she used to help her pretend some confidence.
We gave her supportive and gentle feedback because we want her to succeed.
What I offered her is that she should draw upon her expertise, let go of executing a perfect delivery by memorizing, and simply “trust herself.”
As I reflect on this moment, I realize that artists must also trust themselves.
One phenomena born of this lack of trust is many artists are believing that they need to create two different types of work.
- One body of work that is based on some vague and assumed notion of its marketability.
- the other body of work is the one that they create for themselves, the real art.
This is backwards.
I’m known for my contemporary landscape paintings but I have done a number of contemporary still life paintings. I can’t tell you how many artists will remark, “So, your still life paintings, they are your real art?” “Ah, no. All of the paintings I create are my “real art.”
Here’s the right order:
- First an artist must perfect his or her craft
- Find his or her unique voice expressed in a singular body of work
- Then find his or her tribe/market
Artists are thought leaders. That’s why we are always the first to be killed or commissioned during a revolution.
Being a creative demands confidence in delivering a message, making a statement, igniting a thought, and that requires two things of artists.
- Artists must be vulnerable.
- Artists must trust themselves.
The wise words of Bob Dylan tell us “If you need somebody you can trust, trust yourself.”
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