knowing and understanding yourself as an artist

April Greetings!

I write this reveling in the aftermath of the opening reception for this year’s scholarship recipients at Shemer art center.  This evening we celebrated nine student artists who received scholarships.  As I contemplate the evening, the art, the students, the exhibit, and the many donors that made it possible, I am reminded again that life is not a solitary act. No one can go it alone.  As artists, we spend time by ourselves making our art and learn to navigate the solitude of the studio against the solicitude of relationships. It is wonderful that as a community of artists we frequently join to celebrate one another’s artistic achievements through receptions and ceremonies.

Yesterday, David Bradley and I gave a presentation at the Entrepreneurial School at PVCC.  During our talk, I found myself quoting an unknown source: “…get used to the person you are now…” In context, this is about recognizing our strengths and weaknesses without judgment or criticism and accepting them/yourself as you are – right now.  Knowing and understanding that who you are today is different than who you were a few years or decades ago.  However, I altered this quote a little and offer it to you here…..’get used to the artist you are now’. It is important – imperative, really – that you recognize your strengths and weaknesses, your artistic voice and vision, and the ability you have to convey them.  The artists’ propensity is to default to humility when complimented or recognized.  How might you respond differently? How might your perspective shift if you believe your work is worthy of the accolades you receive?  This doesn’t mean to become pompous. It frees you to believe “I made this and it is good, or beautiful, or complete”.

From that conversation we discussed art as an extension of the artist – how often artists consider their creations in some way a part of them.  Oftentimes as artists we hang our personal identities and well-being onto the creations we make when in fact, our identities are who we are; our art is how we show it to the world. They are not conjoined twins.  How might you detach from this myth if you could see the work as something you do separate from your identity?  How might that liberate you from a defensive response to a critique?

Circling back, if you haven’t seen the New Art Arizona show at Shemer, please don’t miss it. We have a lot going on this month at AAG.  Hope to see you there.

Onward with grace,

Tess

 

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