I just got off the phone with a client who said these exact words to me, “OH NO … Not Me … I am an Artist … I don’t need to relate to people!” He hired me to help him get his art out of his studio and into the world. I then knew exactly why his Art (which is extraordinary) was still sitting in his studio vs. on walls all over the world. I found myself, after the call, revisiting the hundreds of conversations I have had with Artists that had some flavor of that very same sentiment.
Perhaps this rings a bell for you? Something you can completely relate to? It may have already shown up for you along the way like this: You worked your butt off creating and creating and creating and then you FINALLY got the exhibit/show, the gig, the part, the book deal, etc. that you have been dreaming of. WHOOOOHOOOO … your endorphin’s soaring, heart racing … all your emotions raging … elated, proud, on-cloud-9 … then immediately it hit you … you now need to perform in front of or interact with PEOPLE! Suddenly the excitement was gone.
While many of us may not be fazed one bit about dealing with people and may even love that opportunity … it creates a whole range of reactions for others … possibly even complete shut-down terror!
No matter what our medium, if we are going to get our art out in the world, and particularly IF we want to sell it, we need to be able to find a way to interact with people. I have watched brilliant artists melt into an absolute hot mess of a puddle, as they needed to present their work in front of others. Stumbling over their words, unable to communicate, panicked … reacting in a whole range of ways … all the way to coming off as arrogant nasty people haters.
As much we may want our art to stand alone … art for the sake of art … IF we want it out in the world and particularly IF we want to sell it (some of you don’t care about that so you are relieved from all of this … Yeahhhhhhh!!!) then it would be a great thing to break though our RESISTANCE to other human beings.
Human beings (yes, the ones who view our work, hire us for our gigs and performances, and even buy our work) are filled with their infinite curiosity. They want to know the Artist who created the work or performed in front of them. Art is, as much as we want to deny it – IF we want to make a living off of it – A PEOPLE BUSINESS. Until you have reached the point where you have others to handle the people for you … YOU are IT (O, and then people still want to interact with you … even more so … Sorry)!
Oh, and do not be fooled … the proliferation of the Internet and Social Media has not changed that. Many artists do all of the supposedly “right” things … they post their work & tweet about their work & build websites with their work & create videos to display their work. BUT they still hide themselves and no one really ever gets to know the artist or see or hear from him or her. Unfortunately, at some point … those people who are viewing our work are still WANTING to interact with us. (That is why Social Media has the word Social in it 🙂 ).
How are you with people?
Do you get nervous, scared, threatened, paralyzed? Sticking with some old paradigm of you as the introverted Artist? HOW IS IT GOING FOR YOU? Isn’t it time to find a way to work through that so you could actually enjoy the impact of your art on people with the very people you impact?
How would it be if you could be comfortable with and ENJOY people and their attention and their curiosity about you? How would it be if you could be APPRECIATIVE or GRATEFUL for them as your possible patrons/fans that could allow you to expand your art in the world and be able to afford to live the life you want, producing the work that you were born to produce?
Come out, come out where ever you are … your audience is waiting!
Can’t wait to hear your views on this … my bet is there will be a wild array of them …
Hello, I’m an artist a born artist, I want you tell you, lords creation is an art, we are inspired by lords creation, an we try to create little beauty, an he wants us to exhibit it to the art lovers, an we all artists need someone should see our creations, so the relationship make his exploration in all, he give each human different solutions in different manner, which is gift by him.
Lord changes situation an Time, an he make us reach every once Heart, its his creation we don’t understand, so keep faith, an believe him he makes way towards his love!
So study an believe Lord an His Time!
Always be blessed!
Prem Somnath Bhavsar!
Prem – What a beautiful creation – I love that you take the gift that has given you and reach other’s hearts with it! Thank you so much for sharing your art from your heart and connecting with people and spreading it outward.
Been waking up in a bit of a funk the past few mornings. This morning I looked around and began talking myself out of it. I realized that, as an artist I know I have my own unique way of looking at things (what surrounds me). If I want to, I can turn it on and off. Leaving it off shuts out the variety and color that is renewed each day. Turn it on and those surroundings present themselves in as many ways as you wish.
Okay, so that’s inspiration. What about action? Its not enough for an artist to have just the vision.Expression can be difficult at times and can flow like a river at other times.
Any solution to staying on an even keel in that river?
Jon – Great question! My answer is to be in action even when the inspiration is not there. Stay in action. Create everyday. Whether I am inspired or not, feel like it or not, desire to or not, etc. That is not to say that I do not create the moments to reflect and go inward (which is an action tooooooo) but I find action the key to an even keel. I often find that just as inspiration can create action that action can create inspiration. I paddle out into that river and before I know it I am floating down the river and the surroundings and the flow of the river will keep me moving forward.
Kym, the article describes the ‘human factor’ well. But it ends just as I was hoping for a list of suggestions and examples. If you had had more space what kind of people-focused situations would you have written about?
Fergus – Thank you for asking! I will try to give a little more here.
One of the biggest challenges is that it is often not a list of external things to do but rather internal work. Some of that work includes: Getting comfortable in our own skin, Appreciating, loving and approving of ourselves, Knowing we are worthy and deserving, and/or Releasing any fear or threat we may feel. Allowing our true selves to come out and engage. The external work lives more in the world of: Starting conversations with people ourselves – not slick sales people but rather becoming really interested & CURIOUS about what makes others tick – what they love, how they feel, what they are moved by, Asking questions and/or Engaging & including people, being generous with ourselves.
Social Media is a perfect example: Rather than simply posting our work … post some about ourselves … what makes us tick, what led us to create that piece, why we chose those colors or those notes or that movement. Sharing a little about our lives (you don’t need to share details that you feel are too personal) such as what are your pleasures and passions, your thoughts about life, views of your life as an artist (your studio, your behind the scenes rehearsals, practices, etc.). I often think of it as sharing with people as if they were sitting right in our living room with us enjoying a conversation over a cup of tea or a glass of wine, etc. (depending on preference :-)) while we get to know one another.
By the way, I went to your website to look at your work (which is ABSOLUTELY breathtakingly beautiful, Fergus) – you have done an amazing job on your website of capturing what inspired you each of your works, you also talk about your inspirations & share your travel sketchbooks, you mention Sarah, etc. Some other artists should take a look and see it as an example. Perhaps you are the same when you utilize social media and when you are in person with people at shows … if so then you may be a man who is continually mastering the skill of being with and connecting with people. Yeahhhhhhhhhhh! If not then for you it may be spreading that same generosity about yourself everywhere.
I hope this provides a little more … if not feel free to ask me more …
Fergus, did you want to know how to meet more people through your work? I would do the art shows, just to get the work out. You meet other artist and learn how to sell, and who buys your work. We have a gallery for my husbands work. I have had to learn how to sell art work, and it took me awhile. We have been in business for 15 years now, but I am still learning.
WHOOOOOHOOOOOOOO, Nancy – Thank you for joining in with Fergus and sharing your experience! That was very generous of you! Looks like, from your website, that you and Hans have created a beautiful space for his work (and his work is very impressive)!!
Thank you dolci, I read your note, about being comfortable with who you are first. An artist might not take the opportunity to get out and about. Putting your artwork out first, may be a buffer, to help them. You are right, then, one can start a conversation, and you know the more you do it the easier it gets. I see a lot of artist in shows, they wait for people to ask them something, some people will just leave, The artist that are more proactive, volunteering things, speaking up, and smiling. are the ones that make sales.
Nancy – I love what you said about Artists getting there work out there first! I agree. And what you have noticed with Artists in shows is exactly what I have experienced too – I could probably pretty accurately predict the difference in sales with various artists at a group show or festival, etc. by how engaging and interactive each artist is with the people who attend. Thank you!
Goodness, I’m impressed with these very thorough responses. I appreciate the care you have taken.
For my part … it is my pleasure, Fergus!!