Right now I am feeling vulnerable. This doesn’t happen that often and its not an emotion that sits well with me. But it is something that we all feel, some more than others. The following are some of the questions and thoughts that make me vulnerable as an artist. Some of you reading this may wonder why I am publishing this? I share this with you as its allowed to feel all emotions, recognising that enables us to be human and to know we are not alone. Most people will feel vulnerable-what we choose to do with that emotion is up to us.
The dictionary meaning of the word vulnerable is to be exposed to the possibility of being harmed physically or emotionally. Sometimes in our busy world we forget its OK to be emotional and actually as humans we have strong emotions around lots of different things. IT IS FINE TO BE EMOTIONAL! And if other people cannot understand and care for your emotions then find someone who can!
Why am I feeling vulnerable right now?
Its a number of reasons and it is usually is a combination of things that hit us, ambushes us and knock us to the floor.
Firstly this time of year is the anniversary of a traumatic death of a family member. I feel it each year and it knocks me badly so it becomes difficult to go and do things that at other times are no problem at all. Raw emotion is always at the surface of my body, mind and heart from something that affected so many so deeply and hard. There are many of us who feel this in our own different ways and that sorrow deep inside emerges when triggers prevail. This then of course makes you sensitive to other more trivial things that normally the shoulders would be shrugged and the face that says “really” is pulled. These issues then become bigger and bigger until you can become paralysed with fear and anticipation of what will come next!
Secondly, I have some big stuff that I am working on at the moment-Stuff that as an artist you put your heart and soul into and put it in the public domain hoping that people will get what you are trying to get across, that some might like it enough to buy it so you can create more stuff because as an artist YOU NEED PEOPLE TO BUY YOUR STUFF so you can continue to do what you love. I am always very grateful when I receive money for the art I create. How do I sell more so that I can reach a stable income that banishes those emotions and voices that say give up, you will fail?
Thirdly, I am usually pretty confident that I will succeed in doing something but when that confidence takes you far outside your own comfort zone it all becomes pretty scary. Can I actually achieve what I have said I can? Will people get involved in what I am trying to develop? Who will be the next person to be harsh about your art? (This happens all the time and mostly you don’t mind but sometimes I am human and it gets through and triggers a feeling of inadequacy!) But you don’t want people to stop saying what they think as thats good-no really it is as people like different things. If we did all like the same things then the bland art that most big retailers sell would be all we see and not the incredible original art that we need to make our hearts sing!And that original art bought from an artist pays back into the local community where the artist lives and works.
Fourthly, Being an artist means you have to create, and I wonder when as they all say it happens when that brick wall will happen when inspiration doesn’t strike and the work dries up. What happens then? Not been there yet and DON’T WANT TO GO THERE! Inspiration for me comes from all places and I don’t have enough hours to create all that I need to create. How do I find those hours to release all the thoughts and emotions in my head that need to be on canvas? I want to catch up with all the things that I want to do-all those books to read and places to do and people to meet…I have to accept my thoughts are bigger than all the time that I have so I have to prioritise1 How do I choose between places and between different books? JUGGLING is the word and I am beep good at it and still its not enough……
Fifthly, all the business stuff is hard because all you really want to do is create your stuff-right? Wrong I do genuinely love a lot of the non-creative stuff that comes with being a business artist but its hard to do both. How do you switch your brain at just the right time to do the art or the sales call-ITS TOUGH doing that and most people in business don’t get it as they do the business and not the making. Someone once said to me that selling alarm systems is the same as being an artist- I have to admit I cried with the frustration of people not seeing that having a creative business is very different. Does he put his heart, soul and passion into what he is selling when he hasn’t made it himself-I don’t think so!!!
Finally vulnerability comes from thinking I am not enough but I AM ENOUGH as are you! As an artist what I create gives people happiness and a smile,it can delight while raising questions and telling a story as well as decorating your home and office filling it with colour, joy and vibrancy.
I DON’T HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER. NO-ONE ELSE DOES EITHER. WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER! WE CAN ONLY DO OUR BEST!