Hey guys. So in this exploring art series I've talked about how to price your artwork, and how to value your artwork. But did you know that YOU are an intrinsic part of your art's value? Everything you are, everything you do, and everything you have experienced in your life is key to the art that you make. You need to recognize that and take care of it! You are important, even if it doesn't feel like it.
One of the things I noticed about artists is that we all, for the most part, seem to suffer from a deplorable lack of self esteem and self confidence and sometimes even depression. I've watched some of the most incredible painters of our time go into fits of doubt and rage, and destroy paintings they were working on because they simply weren't 'good enough'. I've watched budding artists go into a soul crushing spiral of doubt, to the point that they stopped drawing, gave up because they simply couldn't match the glory of their vision with the skill in their hands. And let's not forget the artists who bought into the hype that you aren't an artist if you don't have a totally unique vision, and you shouldn't do art if you can't do something new and original. Too many artists who enjoy simple expressions of beauty in the painting of a flower, or a fairy, or what not, have curled up and turned to a retail job rather then continue their art because it wasn't 'real art'.
There is something you need to imbed in your mind. You need to embrace and accept 100%, and never, ever forget. Only you can say what is your expression of you. Only you can say what is 'art' when it comes from your hands. There are men who make a fortune off of *stacking garbage cans* and saying 'this is art'. Andy Warhol did an entire bloody generation of can art and flat colors to express his disgust in the commercialism of art... and he is an artist. Georges Seurat said SCREW YOU IMPRESSIONISM I LIKE DOTS and proceeded to paint in dots because he *wanted* to. The term we use for his technique, pointillism, was even a mocking insult to the artist before it was embraced as an actual art style, yet he continued in his style. Could you imagine all of the works in our art museums that we would not have and enjoy if these artists gave up? If they didn't say "You know what, some critic can't dictate what I do with my creativity. I'm going to keep going anyway." To follow the question Doctor Who presented.. what wonders of art would we have gotten if Van Gogh had been able to continue on in his life? If he had help for the unbearable sadness he suffered from?
You never know what your art will become once it leaves your hands, and it is not your job to. Art is a newborn child, a wild creature that you give to the world and pray and hope it does a little good before it's time, too, passes. Don't spend too much time worrying about if your art is a success. Your time is better devoted to learning your trade, learning new skills, and more importantly exploring who you are as a person and what you TRULY want to express when you paint. Then do it.
So. If you are one of us who suffers from crippling depression and self doubt, I would urge many things. One of them is to build a support group crafted for you and only you. One of the best things about deviantart is that when you post your artwork, you are posting it to an objective audience. These people don't know you. And if someone comments on your art and loves what you do? Keep them. Thank them, appreciate and really take to heart that a perfect stranger has said... you spoke to me. YOU did something good.
Your fellow artists are not your competitors. We are your colleagues, your friends, and the only ones who can feel just as you do when you doubt yourself and your art. We are the only ones who completely and whole heartedly KNOW what you feel when you paint and just how much of a struggle it is to be an artist. Find these artists and befriend them, they are kindred souls. Talk to them, and build a support system out of like minds. My friends who I've met through various online art galleries have been the strongest support system I have ever had. People like
, and let's not forget my beloved
have saved me in ways I can't explain and will be forever grateful to them for. They've also looked at my art and helped me when I've struggled, helped me in fixing the things I feel are wrong but can't find an objective viewpoint in myself to correct it. They've helped me by talking about our business, and just raging when something stupid happens. But the point is, they were THERE for me, and if you choose your friends wisely, they will be there for you too.
Above all else. Take care of yourself. Eat right, if you are sick, do what you can to take care of yourself medically. If things are bad, talk it out, there is always help out there somewhere. If you just need a friend, well reach out to people, make friends, build that support system, it will carry you through the bad times. And always, always remember that no matter where you are in your skill level, no matter how old you are when you decide to be an artist, and no matter *how good everyone else is* compared to you.. they aren't you. We mock the special snowflake, but the fact is... everyone IS unique and different. Everyone has some expression within them that is unique to them and them alone. Don't forget it, don't loose sight of the fact that you have value, even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes.