Vulnerability and branding
It's a funny thing being an artist. Being creative tends to come with a high degree of sensitivity that can make you feel pretty vulnerable. Last week I found out that I didn't get through to the next round of The Global Talent Search and I was pretty disappointed. I knew that the competition was really high and I was pretty inspired by the other entries, but not getting through still felt like a rejection and it made me question my art.
Questioning your art is pretty close to questioning your sense of self. It's very personal and the two are so interelated that it's hard to tell which is which. It almost boils down to 'if you don't like my art, then you don't like me.' I try not to make absolutes, but my art is the combination of interests and aesthetics combined with my ability to convey that in the best way I can.
Art is also business though and in the case of The Global Talent Search, business is the core factor. Art director Lilla Rogers is Miss Make Art That Sells and she knows what works for her brand and what does not. My problem is that I love her brand. I love the artists she represents and would dearly love to be part of that.
The reality however is that my work would not sit easily within her agency. It would frolic around like a naughty fairy that could not sit still.
It it took me a while to realise that and a little longer to be okay with that. My work is always evolving and maybe one day it will fit inside a more commercial category, but in the meantime I am happy to have creative freedom.
I keep hearing mentors saying that the gatekeepers are gone, that there are no barriers to publishing your art, publishing a book, putting anything out in the world. You have to choose yourself. You have to believe in yourself. It reminds me of when Atreyu in The Neverending Story faces the Oracle. He knows that if he doubts himself then he will be killed. The eyes of the oracle open as if to blast him to smithereens, but what saves him in the end is that he runs. He doesn't let his fear cause inaction. Moving forward saves him!
It's a good lesson as self doubt can be paralysing and so I have been taking action and trying to work out my next steps.
Being rejected has actually been kind of positive. It's made me reevaluate myself and my brand Glitter and Earth and try to work out where my work ends and where I begin. I really love social media and I love connecting with people, but I have actually boxed myself into a fairy cage that wouldn't let me express my true feelings. Because I thought that I had to be positive and 'magical' all the time I felt like I couldn't fully express my own vulnerability.
There was a disconnect and this silenced me. I didn't want to express anything that was 'off brand'.
Learning that being vulnerable is also very connecting has been useful. When you are brave enough to share your fears you find support in others and you also find out that it's okay to not be 'perfect' all the time.
I really admire the artist and Life Book founder Tamara Laporte for being so open about her thoughts and fears - I think it is really brave and I want to be more open too.
Sometimes social media can be dangerous as it can be tempting to see 'likes' as self validation. When you don't get much feedback it can spark feelings of self doubt and unworthiness. I am starting to realise that you should only share when you are sure enough in your own self . Feeling good should not be determined by a set amount of social feedback. It's definitely useful in terms of getting feedback and working out what is popular, but it certainly shouldn't be a determiner of how you feel about yourself.
I tend to use 'likes' now as a gratitude practice. I am thankful for everyone that likes and comments on my work and I say 'thank you' every time I get a notification
Listening to Creative Live - 30 days of genius is also really interesting and helpful. Brené Brown is pretty much THE speaker when it comes to vulnerability and I found it really useful to hear that I am not alone in how I think, or the creative struggles that I have. In fact, it's all kind of standard territory, but it's like we are only just gaining a vocabulary for it.
Through the connectivity and community of the Internet, creatives are able to empower themselves and learn through the strategies and ideas of others.
I went in search of support to Lucy Magicmaker, the author of the Marmalade series and she was great at generating ideas and support. I no longer felt alone in my little artist bubble, but instead felt reassured and emboldened to think creatively and unconventionally.
I am now working through a few ideas that I am excited about as well as having fun building up stock to sell at craft fairs/exhibitions. It's challenging and fun and I'm loving the process.
They say that a picture says a thousand words, but I get it now that pictures aren't always indicative of how I feel or who I actually am and so I need to share that in other ways. Social media connects me to YOU and I am so thankful for that, but I don't want to be just a brand, I want to be a person.
My name is Jacqueline Wild and I am an artist. A happy, creatively driven artist that believes the world is beautiful and wants to share that magic. Sometimes it isn't always fairies and unicorns though and I am determined to be more present instead of retreating into silence when life gets tricky.
Thanks for reading! I'd love to know your thoughts on the Internet and how the idea of community is changing. We live in fascinating times! Best wishes and fairy kisses xxx Jacs. Xxx
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