OK I admit it. I watch American Idol. And when I do, part of my fascination is watching what’s required of these emerging artists.
Many haven’t found their true voice and clearly their skill requires honing.
Obviously it’s about their talent but the underlying story is their ability to weather the very public humiliation and rejection and still keep going. It’s like being in a Roman Colosseum battling emotion and ego.
Artists engage in their craft because they are passionate about it. It gets them high, so to speak.
What an artist shares comes from the depths of their heart. So rejection and criticism can be biting, at the very least.
Of course, we don’t have to put ourselves out there. Except if you want to get paid, you do. A plumber, a doctor, a financial analyst never has to deal with such deeply personal matters of rejection or acceptance.
And when we place our treasured craft into the world of commerce we are subject to the market’s whims and we have to understand and play by the complex rules of business. This does sometimes leave me feeling like I maintain a split personality.
But I not only accept this, I embrace it. The good news is that I’m only trying to win over a very select few, a clearly defined targeted market of art and wine enthusiasts. In fact, I thought that David Mathison, author of “Be the Media” put it well. He said you really only need a 1000 fans. This is also a lesson taught by Chris Anderson, author of the “The Long Tail”. Anderson explains the new economics of culture and commerce and “why the future of business is selling less of more.”
Once I read my letter of recommendation from Wayne Thiebaud in 1999, I found one part most flattering, but also the most important thing I always remember is “She has a well-developed confidence and personal inner resources allowing her to use critical confrontation for positive results.” Without this I think I’d be headed straight for the lions.