My artistic journey has new emotional growth

I have recently experienced new emotions in this journey of being a self-employed artist and entrepreneur. With these new emotions, feeling them, progressing through them, and over coming them, I feel that I have grown. I am writing this piece in hopes that readers may get a sneak peek into my journey and that it may even help another artist, designer or maker who may be afraid.

When I first began my on-line store on etsy.com and a blog, I had no reservations about sharing my work or studio photos. None at all. As the weeks, months and years progress I meet more and more talented people, may of them having followed their work for a number of years.

I have had many star struck moments over the last few years, since relocating with my family to Fort Sill, OK.  Even upon reading my husband's e-mail from Afghanistan in 2012 which announced that we were to PCS to Oklahoma upon his return, standing in the small kitchen of our rental in Washington state with my toddler holding my leg, I did the happy dance and Sean and I burst into laughter and dance.

I was ecstatic! I knew that there were to be opportunities to meet so many that I had admired over a period of so many years. I would finally see the place that my grandmothers so craved to return to. I now know and understand why. I have been able to meet and enjoy the work of graphic designers, animators and Cherokee language preservers in person that inspired me in college. I have been able to learn from the strong, talented, knowledgable and beautiful Martha Berry. I am now able to call her mentor and... friend. I have been able to learn from the talented and gorgeous Verna Bates. I have been able to sit and hear the stories of so many treasured and traditional story tellers. I have been able to see my son look forward to hearing their voices and ask for them by name. We have come to know them a little better and have even experianced my 4 year old tell stories of his own with confidence to the group. We have learned to dance with them and share moments to never be forgotten for the rest of my days.

All of this sounds wonderful right? Almost perfect. Yes, it has been. But with it came a time to grow as an artist. Martha Berry once mentioned that two of the most difficult things for new artists was to share their work and then to price it. So far, these two tasks had been very simple, easy, cut and dry. There are even formulas for pricing! Webinars and books galore for photographic and listing items made... But now I had reached a new level. Sharing my art with those whom I adored. These people were my muse! The very ones who were teaching and sharing and surprising to me, so easy to know and love. I felt like an outsider. I still do. I may always.

I was more hesitant to post photos of my jewelry and creations as more and more of my new acquaintances  were added to my FB friends. More and more nervous. I felt that my work was more, well, inferior to what they contributed to the world. It was a moment of truth. Was I really ready to call myself artist or was I just going to stay quiet in those circles about what I did for fear of judgment, of not being taken seriously, of doing or creating something to show what an outsider I truly was....

After all, they could fall in love with my work! Or they could, well, critique it and tear it APART!

I decided that I was simply going to bare all, be honest, show who I am, what I am, what inspires me, and the pieces of my soul that come to front as piece after piece are planned, played with, honed, and built. By me.

It sounds so simple doesn't it? For many of you, it may be just that simple. It was a new step for me though, and albeit, not and easy one. One that made me hesitate for a moment in realizing that I could be judged negatively by those whom I admire so much. I had to make that concious decision to hit that FB post button and bare all. It was a collection of moments that I chose to be courageous. Many moments that required I show artistic confidence. The bravery to show who I am and what I find important.

I am learning to celebrate my accomplishments to silence that nagging self-doubt. My passions and their unstoppable push that make the creating seem to be not optional silence that voice. Mostly.

I would be happy to hear from any of you and your thoughts. Has anything like this ever happened to you? Did any part of this ring true and resonate with you?

Comments

Tana

Valerie, I loved reading this. If I could put into words my own experiences, it would read very similar. Almost exactly in fact. It took me a long time to say I was an artist. I always said I wanted to me one not that I was. Because I had so much admiration and still do for other artists works, I did feel inferior for a long time. I still get star struck! But doesn't it feel good now? Wado for sharing your words and your beautiful art. I'm proud to call you ginali.

Valerie Leann Kagan

I was thrilled to see that you enjoyed these thoughts.
I was mortified to take that leap. I have been blessed far beyond what I saw in my head as the best case scenario.
You are so right. It DOES feel good now.
I am grateful beyond words.
Humbled, surprised and blessed.
I too, count myself amongst those who call you ginali.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Love and hugs.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
To help us prevent spam, please prove you're human by typing the words you see here.