I have been fairly active this summer, had several openings, and in the past month or two I have received a lot of attention and many compliments about my work – which, for the most part, is nice but there are a few people out there I question. There are some people that feel the need to tell me how wonderful I am (or my work), but in the same breath they think they need to put down other artists in my vicinity, or community. And complain to me about how bad another artist is, etc. They tell me other people are jealous of me; compare me to others and tell me how much better I am than so-and-so. I wonder if they really think that makes me feel good about myself? Well, I will go ahead and tell you – it sort of makes me feel uncomfortable. It it like comparing apples and onion rings. It means absolutely nothing to me. And it makes me not value or respect anything that comes out of their mouths. I just don’t welcome that sort of negativity within my aura.
I try not to compare myself to others. I am sort of a loner and just like to keep to myself and work away in peace. Besides, I am my own worst critic. I don’t need this kind of smack talk from other people. I give myself enough grief.
I learned a few years ago that ALL art is subjective and I am not really in a position to criticize or critique ANYONE – EVER. My ex-sister-in-law came for a visit once and we decided to go shopping and gallery hopping. She picked out a painting in a shop that she wanted to buy for her mother as a gift. I am not exaggerating when I tell you it was the most hideous and amateur painting I had ever seen. My husband suggested that I was jealous that she did not want to purchase something from me – but that was not it. As sweet as she was, I was not only appalled that my new sister-in-law had such horrible taste in art, but that I was now related to her. Goodness. I tell you it looked like an old, faded painting from the 1970’s you found in your dead grandmothers attic that she had painted during her weekend art class in a nursing home craft class. It was a girl dressed in Victorian clothing next to a gazebo in a summer garden. You needed to dust it off before dropping it off at the local Goodwill just to get rid of it so you would not have nightmares – it was just that ugly. But I was watching her (my sister-in-law) with such amazement as she went on and on about this painting and how it evoked something within her, and reminded her of her mother’s youth. I could not get over how passionate she felt about this painting, and made quite the fuss: It is what every artist hopes for when someone purchases their work. It was one of those self-centered realization moments in life when it suddenly occurred to me that there are other people that actually exist in this world and they see things through completely different eyes. From then on – I have completely kept my thoughts to myself, and attempt to find the good/beauty in everything – even if it is small glimpse. Thankfully, I don’t really feel the need to put another person down in order to feel good about myself and my work – like some do.
And even bad art has a place in the world to be appreciated and adored. Amazing huh?