I’ve got nothing against Ron Howard, really. Opie was a cute kid. But, forgive me, so far I can’t stand anything directed by the man. I find his style sappy and emotionally overwrought.
OK. That’s about as critical and mean-spirited as you will hear me get publicly. I even struggled with using the word hate in my title. In truth, I don’t hate anyone but I’m trying to make a point here.
I picked Ron Howard because I know he can take it and I know he’s probably a really wonderful and totally sincere guy who could care less what I think. And he has touched millions of lives with his work over decades of service as an actor, writer, director and, producer.
In fact, I’m certain many of you LOVE Ron Howard. (And if I insulted you with my opening paragraph, I apologize.)
I know many of you love mushrooms, too.
Can’t stand ‘em myself.
What I am trying to stay here is taste is purely subjective.
And that’s all it is. Taste.
Feel free to ignore the people who will try to tell you their taste is the taste. The correct taste. (Ahem – art teachers, professors and critics.)
As you send your work out into the world, some people will LOVE it.
Some will hate it.
Some will say “Meh.”
That doesn’t mean your work is good.
Or even Meh.
It’s just your work. It’s the work you do.
So when everyone is patting you on the back and giving you shows and buying your work it doesn’t necessarily mean you are brilliant.
And if NO one is paying attention and you continually get rejected neither does it mean your are an idiot who should give up and go do something else.
It means nothing.
It’s just ego stuff.
Because you love this thing so much – creating, making, innovating, birthing new projects.
To continually evolve and pull ideas from deep within.
To craft and hone and love them.
Your work is a gift of love to the universe and to yourself. (You are, after all, an integral part of the universe.)
Keep on, friend.
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I know how hard this can be. Showing up to work in the studio week after week when it feels like nobody cares about what you are doing. No one even notices.
When you hit a rough patch creatively or when the work isn’t looking or feeling too good, it can be so tempting to wonder why in the heck you even bother.
Maybe you just got another rejection letter and your heart is sinking.
It’s times like these when I pull out my positive feedback folder.
I have a paper one and one in my email files. This is where I archive any positive feedback or words of encouragement on my work.
It might be a brief comment in an email, a thank you note from someone who has received my art, or even something someone said in passing. If you have a blog or facebook page, you can cut and paste into a separate document any comments that give your heart a little lift.
More established artists could save copies of positive notices or reviews, articles or catalogue essays on their work in their positive feedback file. (Yes, even the most established artists suffer from self-doubts.)
I suggest compiling them all in one place and making it part of your studio ritual to read these over on a weekly or monthly basis. This will strengthen your resolve in the studio and help you through those darker times of confusion and self-doubt.
I believe we all want to be of service to others in some way. When you spend much time working alone in your studio, it is easy to forget that your work can have a positive impact on others.
If you are just getting started and you haven’t received any yet, don’t worry, you will. Perhaps someone in a class you took admired your color palette or your knack for composition?
Can you be absolutely sure you haven’t received any compliments?
Perhaps you have been in the habit of dismissing them? (This old thing?! It’s nothing, really. Just something I’m messing around with. It’s not even finished.)
There is a delicate balance here. Obviously, we don’t want to live only for the compliments or accolades, nor base our self-worth or our opinion of our own work on them.
However, they do serve to remind that part of us that wants to make a difference in the world that our endeavors are worthwhile.
Your work is worthwhile.
Now, go make something.
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