What if no one even likes – or, maybe worse, no one cares – about your art?
You laugh if you can. You cry if you have to. Then you decide whether or not you need to have your work liked more than you need to create the work that no one likes or cares about.
If you can create what you want and aren’t crushed by the reception the work gets, then you make more. Otherwise? You find out what you need to do to please people and then make the work that will bring you the notice and/or approval you want.
Or maybe you fling yourself back and forth between these options? Trying not to care, trying to find out what people want, trying not to care…trying, trying, trying.
Or maybe you pack it all in and stop trying so you can stop caring, until you realize that won’t work because you reallyneed to make your art so you start all over again. Trying, caring.
Then, in one of those cosmic bursts of magic, someone loves your art. Not everyone. But someone.
“We Never Saw Eye to Eye” began its life (in 2011) as a casual sketch of Boris Karloff’s face from one of his movies. His expression wouldn’t leave my mind so I drew it.
The face doesn’t look like Boris Karloff but I did a decent job with the expression so I kept the sketch to incorporate in a digital compilation. The other components are a formerly-trashed acrylic painting and an acrylic ink drawing. I made it using a flatbed scanner and Photoshop Elements, several years ago.
This year I decided to make it available in my Redbubble shop on their “graphic” tee shirts – along with the usual prints/products – because the expression resembles mine too often these days. It has a strong “GRRRRRRRRRR!” vibe.
Ahhh…the artist’s whiny inner voice. Maybe you don’t have one? I do. It’s the foot-stamping, tantrum-instigating voice of lunacy that tells us the current work we’re doing is nothing less than genius and deserves to be in a museum RIGHT NOW, in spite of the obvious fact that it’s lukewarm crap.
The face above is my latest “masterpiece.” It’s still sitting in the Sketchbook app on my iPad. I know it’s objectively not great, probably not good, maybe bad, and certainly not worth being seen in public. But I can’t trash it. Can’t force myself, at least while the whining’s at peak volume.
There’s something about it that might be worth saving; it’s not all bad. But each time I change it I un-change it. It’s still too precious, this masterpiece, to fiddle with (according to that pesky inner voice).
So it sits, clogging the workspace of the app.
I’m done for the day. The face gets to stay overnight. Maybe I’ll save it to use as a template for something else. A painting? Or – better yet – a cut paper assembly or a collage. Another masterpiece!
Yesterday I sat at my Mac and reworked the digital version of the face above. It began life six years ago as an acrylic sketch on a piece of discarded corrugation. Later, I fiddled with it on the computer but never finished it the way I wanted to. That happened yesterday when the face came to life. He looks grumpy, doesn’t he? Well, he has a good reason: he was relegated to the bottom of a storage cabinet all those years. I’m happy he’s finally complete and ready to meet the world.
Another rework (in progress) is my social media “presence.” I still have some work to do behind the scenes in my Redbubble Shop (tags, descriptions, etc.) but Twitter and Instagram are sorted out.