I've had the pleasure of meeting so many talented, ambitious, and unique artists on Etsy. I find it truly inspiring on a daily basis to be exposed to so many different styles and approaches especially since I am also getting the opportunity to speak directly with the artist herself. The only thing that saddens me is why these amazing artists so often don't realize how truly talented they are! I do understand where it this deep rooted self doubt comes from. Art is like exposing a part of your soul to the world. It is a great gift, in the sense that you can carve out a piece of who you are and your completely unique view of the world and mold into something beautiful for others to enjoy.
Artwork courtesy of www.PixelWildChild.etsy.com
I've always thought of purchasing art as inviting someone else's point of view into my home.
The other side of this is of course, the terror of exposing yourself and having it be rejected or misunderstood. In a way, it's like that dream where you show up to school in your underwear and have to give a speech. Because art is so personal and most often has an emotional element, every artist must eventually face their fears and decide if they are going to jump off that metaphorical cliff and share their art with the world.
If you are one of those brave souls who has jumped off the cliff, every seller on Etsy is, you must remember that your opinion of your art will undoubtedly be the opinion of others. One big mistake I see time and time again is a seller apologizing for some aspect of their work. I think this is a form of defensive self preservation. In other words, if you reject your work first, it won't hurt as bad when someone else does. You are in essence beating them to the punch. But here's the thing-they might have been preparing to give you the biggest compliment your art can receive: the purchase of it. But now you have planted a seed in their mind that their evaluation of your art (they loved it) was wrong. In that sense, you are also insulting their taste. And that's just plain rude.
All joking aside, you the Artist must always defend your work. It is a part of who you are and that makes it something to be celebrated. Art is also subjective, no two people will see it exactly the same way. Some people will love it and some people will hate it and that, to me, is what makes art so exciting. It inspires debate, enlightenment, criticism, epiphanies, joy and despair. It is what defines a culture, in fact it has been said that civilized culture cannot exist without art.
Of course, the craftsmanship element exists and we should all be able to admit to our shortcomings in that area and aspire to grow and learn from our mistakes. But we also have to make a conscious effort to stop insulting our own work. You must be your own biggest fan. I guarantee if you can start to truly love your own art it won't take long for others to fall in love too.
Thank you Kristie!