Brotherhood in Art, is there such a thing, and can there be?
Recently I have been involved in a few projects, feeling my way about the art world, what's around me, what's on offer, what's not, what's happening in the world of art, and I had the experience of something I really hate about the art system, not the people but the system that allows it.
This thing has bothered me for years, it's been a pet hate of mine the whole time growing up, and being involved in making art. And that is how you are treated by others in the art world, the lack of true care, realness, honesty, basically the lack of true brotherhood in art. And maybe there is some reaction and hurts still around this, but simply it's what I have observed in the art world over many years.
Now I know some of you might say, but we do have an amazing studio where we all work and get along, or a great community of artists that really support each other, and that is ace, and well may be the case, I am not saying it doesn't exist, it's just sadly very few and far between.
My experience was one of feeling the lack of support from others, the jealousy, the critique, and clique as I have talked about before, the almost lack of wanting to share or help, basically people out for themselves, and we get that in all walks of life, but you know what it sucks to feel, not through any hurt of my own, but my hate when there isn't true group work, or brotherhood, we are all in the same boat and ain't going anywhere unless it's together, so the sooner we realise this and work together, the better.
My learning is to observe that, see what horrible energies are rife in the art world, competition, compassion, judgement, etc etc. and get out there none the less. It's just sad to see, that people are treated this way and we don't support one another more deeply, one of my greatest qualities is how much I care about people, and it's the care we have for oversells and one another that can make this world a very different place.
Often when things try to come to knock us down, things that potentially might make us want to give up, go what's the point, withdraw, is when we know we are needed out in the world. And gives us the spark to go go you know what I am stepping up. I am going to bring even more of me, no force, no drive, just simply keep putting myself out there, no matter what your walk of life is. And enjoy what I do and how I express myself, it may not be perfect, or everyone's cup of tea, but we are all needed in this world.
My feeling is yes of course there can be brotherhood in art, but in all honesty it's a long way off as we need to get self out of the way, and the art world is built on the pillars of self, self, self and recognition. But once these come crumbling down, then the true foundations can be built to allow people to express, support, and work together in this way, There are already people and art businesses out there that do this, but let's change how we live and work together to allow room for many more.
Rejection, how do you deal with it?
Let's face the art world is rife with rejection.
But how do you deal with it? Withdraw, give up, think we are useless, get cynical, angry, frustrated, and stop making art? Or do you not even put yourself or your work out there for fear of rejection, what other people will say?
I have felt and done both. I have exhibited work, sold work, but after working in the art world for a long time, I gave up, I hated what I saw, so instead of going deeper with myself, finding out more about who I am, putting myself out there, making art because I loved it, was good at it and it's one of the ways I love expressing myself. I withdrew, gave up and hated the art world.
Don't get me wrong I still hate the system we call art, not the people, the system that allows abuse, corruption, judgement, critique, like they are really really critical, elitism, shunning of good work and great people, the emotions, drama, competition, snobbery, the bulls*** chat, disregard, bitchiness, back stabbing and the falseness, like the art world is really really false, One minute you can be flavour of the month with everyone fawning over you and the next big thing comes along and people are like 'hello who are you?' The art world is very very empty.
But at the same time I love people who put themselves out there, and make art because that's how they love to express themselves, the genuine people. Not the 'art world'. If you have a look around your local community, you town, country, there is some really beautiful work out there made by some very lovely and humble people, that the art world would probably laugh at and snub, because it doesn't fit the picture created of what 'good art' is.
Anyway that's a slight digression, I have so much to share on art, but, back to, is there another way to deal with rejection?
The answer is yes.
It doesn't happen over night.
Along with letting go of horrible fear of rejection, let's be honest, it's one of our greatest hurts, for woman it goes for our lack of self worth - is letting go of expectations and need. The need for people to like your work, ( and that stems back to our education system - and younger - being taught we get recognition for what we do not loved for who we are ) for if there is a need there, it's not a true piece of art, it's based on everyone else, only being 'good' if other people like it, not you expressing yourself from a deeper place, with and ease and flow from your body when you make it. In that knowing I made it, so obviously it's amazing, it might not be every ones cup of tea, and that's cool. The truth is we all aren't going to like everything, that's not how we are, some of us love pink, other love blue, whilst some might like black, and that is a metaopher for everything in life, from the food we eat, the jobs we do, the music we listen to, cars we drive etc.
But when you look at a piece of work and love it, knowing you've made it form your heart you could say, then thats' a great place to be in. Rejection isn't personal, that's what we have to learn, it's not you they are reacting, maybe a gallery simply doesn't like your work, maybe it doesn't fit in with the type of art they sell, the genre they are going for, maybe someone is jealous of you, your work, for putting yourself out there and expressing your self, the choices you are making. Imagine just making work because you felt o and putting in out there because you felt to, with no outcome, need or expectation in mind, that would be so freeing,
Don't get me wrong it's tough, I hate feeling rejection in any part of my life, you know that feeling when you can tell someone doesn't want to be around you, or maybe you have experienced it in a relationship. But its about stepping back, brining understanding, looking at the bigger picture. where is the person at, in terms of art, what type of gallery is it, what work do they sell, does your work fit what they are trying to project? And even what is going on for yourself, does it bring up negative thoughts for you? Can you turn them into a positive? Are there other galleries, could you join a local artists group that exhibit? What about opening an online store, somewhere like on Etsy?
Letting go of the fear of rejection is a process, one that can only be overcome if you put yourself out there with no need, expectation or outcome, bring understanding and learn to not take things personally.
No one gets anywhere if we hide away.
Who say's you are good at art?
So I was thinking about this today, really how can you mark a person who works as an artist or who is at art school training, studying art?
Yes you could say well they would be marked on skills, technical ability, but sadly to say this e days are long gone, where you trained under a Master for several years and built up amazing skills. ( I am sure there are still many who are very skilled technically)
But the reality is from my experience art school stopped teaching skills a long time ago. When I first went to art school about 25 years ago, it was an amazing place, people had great studio spaces, there were different departments with very skilled tutors in each, who taught the finer technical skills of drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and all the even finer details in each. I studied fine art so I can't comment on the design side. But it was amazing, there was a real buzz about the place, tutors were around and seen daily, and skills were taught. Sadly when I returned about 11 years later, the art school had been enveloped bu the University system, it was all about getting as many bums on seats and more money. Studio spaces were tiny, departments cut, hardly any tutors about and no skills taught like there used to be, suffice to say I found solace in the guys running the work shop who taught me lots and spent most of my time there.
But this blog isn't about how skills aren't being taught anymore, that's for another day, what I was thinking about more was how can you grade a student on their art, who say's their work is worth a 1st class honours, a 2:1 or even a fail. I don't think you can mark art, it should simply be a pass to a fail ( it's different at school level as there is specific criteria but not at college / Uni). I recall there were students who worked their butts off, totally committed, dedicated, passionate about what they did and made, in there at 6am some days and working till late, and there were other, no judgement who had totally given up, never in, you'd be lucky if you saw them once a month.
Yet degree show time comes around and the student that's never in, pulls a few full days with help from someone else, and they walk out with say a 2:1 the same as a person who's been committed, passionate and dedicated for four years - as let's be clear here they're work is very good, now to me that doesn't seem fair, well the art system isn't, unfortunately it's all about if your face fits, it you play the game, especially if you want to make it big. That's how the world is, we have to learn to hate the systems that allow things like this, the judgement, bullying, corruption, glamour, the striving and using force for fame,
People who work in the arts have to go through a lot of rejection, judgement, critic, not just at art school, from art galleries etc too, does your work fit in with what they like, what they sell, the other artists the represent, it's all a bit of charade if you ask me, but unfortunately it is what it is.
If you stay true to your heart and paint, make art, you might not be as successful as others you see, but you know where your art comes from and that you're not selling out or selling your Soul, not that you can do that, you can ignore it for a very long time, but hey as much as you try it's not going away, and that's a good thing if you ask me, but at least if you are successful you know it's true success.
But yeah, let's get rid of grades at art school and make it a simple pass or fail.
Why make art?
Because it's fun, light a great way of creating space, connecting to and expressing yourself.
That is the simple answer.
(And for people like Leonardo Da Vinci he shared some great messages through the layers of his work, that probably would have got him killed if he said them out loud at that time in the world.)
But his honestly guys, what have we done to the art world, what have we allowed to rule and own it? it has become one of the most polluted, arrogant, elite, corrupt, controlling, supremacy systems, it almost makes me think of the King and Queen of France that lived in the Louvre and got their heads cut off by the public, that's; the kind of cold supremacy energy in art, and a real arrogance to, a snobbery a looking down our noses at others. Or on the other side there is the airy fairy fluffiness, a role, being cool, a character you have to play.
Honestly there is so much bulls**t in the art world, it's sad to see, if you don't fit in a certain look or way, then your out, who says, men in fat suits, or some elitist, or a guy that doesn't have an ounce of love or var for people in his body, could easily be a woman too, just people that like to look good, to talk about it at dinner parties and show of to others in the same boat, sad to say it just shows how empty people are, At the same time, the nonsense people come away with, no judgement here as I was there at one point as well, about what their work means, all this emotional, heavy, meaning of life stuff, putting their issues into their work, their misery, anger, whatever, man what are people getting when they hand that ion their walls. And no it doesn't mean that, its simply a red dot on a wall. Sorry well I'm not at all I am not one that buys into all the arty, pretentious bulls**t. I switch off even at the slightest whiff of it. Same as in many systems I know.
But the reason I write this is there are so many people who are put off making art, from kids up to adults, because they are told or believe they are not good enough, so what who cares whether someone likes your work or doesn't. But they have been robbed of that joy, And I for one won't stand for that., i love joy, I am joy as I'm sure you all well know. I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't like my stuff, but I love it, and I know where it comes from a deeper place in me, with an ease, a flow, a joy, a true wonderment, just like making art as a little girl.
To find your expression, be it art, music, writing, mathematics, management whatever your thing is and allow yourself to express it allows so much space in your body and day, as I've said before its about not holding back and letting your natural amazing qualities out. Now that open up so much space in your day, way much better than checking out on TV or scrolling endlessly through social media, and yes it can be harder to say no, I'm going to connect to myself and express, but believe me it is so much worth it. And beats any crap on TV or the next meme you see. or who had what for their tea.
Let's keep art simple, and I don't mean you can't paint the most amazing layer detailed picture, I simply mean simple it doesn't need heaviness, stories, issues or drama, you know that catharsis crap we like to do, man we can deal and help our stuff easily, lets not dump it on other people or in our pictures, forget about need too, think of a child, keep it light, keep it true for all to appreciate.
Keep art simple, fun and light.
Does expressing yourself stop you eating more?
What I hear you say, how can expressing yourself stop me eating more ice cream, chocolate, food? How can that be, whatever, yeah right.
But it's true, Ive realised over the past few days, when I'm choosing to express myself, for me that's through art, other it may be writing, music, singing, gardening etc, whatever is your thing. I have found that I don't eat as much.
Because I feel more full.
I feel more full of myself, I'm letting what is inside me out, and not hiding from the world, not judging myself, and not trying to fill myself up with anything else because I feel empty inside.
Have you ever done that, held back something that is there naturally to express, it feels crap! It makes you feel crap.
All I ever wanted to do from being a little girl was make art, so of course it part of my natural expression, and to stop that, battle it up, put a cork in it, not do it, hold back in any way shape or form is going to make me feel uneasy, agitated, not myself, empty, looking outside for things to 'full-fill' me. But I'll never find it there. It's when I choose to express myself, and there is such joy in that, and me making art, that I feel more vibrant, full of energy, full of myself, and I don't need at much food, or look for things as a reward, comfort or reward etc. Because I am elating what is naturally inside of me out, what I love, my amazing qualities, me, and there is nothing more filling than that!
Do you need likes on social media?
Are you someone who is constantly looking at your social media pages to see if your pictures or your art work gets liked?
What affect does this have on your health? You life? Family? Relationships?
I once spoke to someone who's relationship broke down because of a partners need to be constantly on social media promoting their pictures and talking to people on Instagram. It took over their life and affected their relationship, I'm sure there were other factors too, but it can't help a relationship, be it your relationship with yourself, kids, family or partner if you are always on your phone.
But have we looked at the other side of 'needing' likes for our art work?
What are we saying to the world by needing people to like us, to like what we paint, and produce, how does this affect our health, and how true are we being to ourselves and what we put out if there is a need there in us.
Imagine, maybe you don't need to, basing your art, how you look, dress, your whole life on what other people think, it's draining and exhausting, and not good for our health, vitality or art practice. We are basically saying we are not good enough, or anything I do is not good enough if I am not recognised and liked, that's a pretty s*** way of treating yourself! You're basically saying you are crap and not worthy. Giving your power away to the outside world, of how you should be as an artist, a person, woman, man etc. And we wonder why exhaustion is the worlds No.1 plague!
Now I am not saying ditch social media, that's not the answer, we all use it to sell, promote, share with the world out magic, how you express yourself - social media can be used in a purposeful way.
But, how can we look at it in a different way?
Imagine painting like a child again, in the freedom, the joy, the expressing, the openness, and to a certain age, before the world changes them, not needing anyone to like or not like their pictures, simply putting it out there ( or on the fridge at home) for all the world to see because they love what they do, they love the colours, the shapes, the marks, the exploring and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of it. It's the joy in the physical process, connection, space, the moment, and expressing themselves. Simple.
How would you feel if you painted what you felt? And didn't care of anyone liked it or not
What would your life be like if you did what you felt? .
What would it feel like to put your art on line, because you felt to, because it was frickin' awesome and man the world has to get a load of this, because you did it, and you're amazing, so they are not just getting your art they are getting how you live. Not needing once ounce of feedback or telling you how to be from the outside world, or yourself yourself.
Now that's art that rocks my world.
When do you stop painting?
As with anything you do, are passionate about and love, when do you know it is the time to stop? Do you push through, pull all nighters just to get that painting done, not have dinner with the family, or make time to stop and have a fe moments with yourself? Surely your worth being with for ten minutes a day?
So in the past I probably would have pushed through, gone to the studio at night, after dinner to paint, I did that with most things. But now I am learning to listen to my body and stop when it tells me to stop.
For example this evening it was amazing to feel at around 5pm my body naturally started to tire, not an exhaustion, but more a it's time to start winding down the day, I didn't know what time it was but I knew by what my body was telling me it was around 5pm, and when I looked at my watch, it was just after 5pm. How cool is that!
I also noticed things that I am super good at like precision, detail, take care with the tiny details were starting to slip, this is all a tell tale sign it's time to stop what I am doing, So I listened to my body and feel way much better for it, Time for a yummy homemade thai tofu curry and a hot bath to finish the day.