Exploring Art 20: The Value of You.

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Hey guys. So in this exploring art series I've talked about how to price your artwork, and how to value your artwork. But did you know that YOU are an intrinsic part of your art's value?  Everything you are, everything you do, and everything you have experienced in your life is key to the art that you make. You need to recognize that and take care of it! You are important, even if it doesn't feel like it.

One of the things I noticed about artists is that we all, for the most part, seem to suffer from a deplorable lack of self esteem and self confidence and sometimes even depression. I've watched some of the most incredible painters of our time go into fits of doubt and rage, and destroy paintings they were working on because they simply weren't 'good enough'. I've watched budding artists go into a soul crushing spiral of doubt, to the point that they stopped drawing, gave up because they simply couldn't match the glory of their vision with the skill in their hands. And let's not forget the artists who bought into the hype that you aren't an artist if you don't have a totally unique vision, and you shouldn't do art if you can't do something new and original. Too many artists who enjoy simple expressions of beauty in the painting of a flower, or a fairy, or what not, have curled up and turned to a retail job rather then continue their art because it wasn't 'real art'.

There is something you need to imbed in your mind. You need to embrace and accept 100%, and never, ever forget. Only you can say what is your expression of you. Only you can say what is 'art' when it comes from your hands. There are men who make a fortune off of *stacking garbage cans* and saying 'this is art'. Andy Warhol did an entire bloody generation of can art and flat colors to express his disgust in the commercialism of art... and he is an artist. Georges Seurat said SCREW YOU IMPRESSIONISM I LIKE DOTS and proceeded to paint in dots because he *wanted* to. The term we use for his technique, pointillism, was even a mocking insult to the artist before it was embraced as an actual art style, yet he continued in his style. Could you imagine all of the works in our art museums that we would not have and enjoy if these artists gave up? If they didn't say "You know what, some critic can't dictate what I do with my creativity. I'm going to keep going anyway." To follow the question Doctor Who presented.. what wonders of art would we have gotten if Van Gogh had been able to continue on in his life? If he had help for the unbearable sadness he suffered from?

You never know what your art will become once it leaves your hands, and it is not your job to. Art is a newborn child, a wild creature that you give to the world and pray and hope it does a little good before it's time, too, passes. Don't spend too much time worrying about if your art is a success. Your time is better devoted to learning your trade, learning new skills, and more importantly exploring who you are as a person and what you TRULY want to express when you paint. Then do it.

So. If you are one of us who suffers from crippling depression and self doubt, I would urge many things. One of them is to build a support group crafted for you and only you. One of the best things about deviantart is that when you post your artwork, you are posting it to an objective audience. These people don't know you. And if someone comments on your art and loves what you do? Keep them. Thank them, appreciate and really take to heart that a perfect stranger has said... you spoke to me. YOU did something good.

Your fellow artists are not your competitors. We are your colleagues, your friends, and the only ones who can feel just as you do when you doubt yourself and your art. We are the only ones who completely and whole heartedly KNOW what you feel when you paint and just how much of a struggle it is to be an artist. Find these artists and befriend them, they are kindred souls. Talk to them, and build a support system out of like minds. My friends who I've met through various online art galleries have been the strongest support system I have ever had. People like :iconwindfalcon: and :iconangelasasser: , :iconmeredithdillman:, and let's not forget my beloved :iconadri: and :iconmisticunicorn: have saved me in ways I can't explain and will be forever grateful to them for. They've also looked at my art and helped me when I've struggled, helped me in fixing the things I feel are wrong but can't find an objective viewpoint in myself to correct it. They've helped me by talking about our business, and just raging when something stupid happens. But the point is, they were THERE for me, and if you choose your friends wisely, they will be there for you too.

Above all else. Take care of yourself. Eat right, if you are sick, do what you can to take care of yourself medically. If things are bad, talk it out, there is always help out there somewhere. If you just need a friend, well reach out to people, make friends, build that support system, it will carry you through the bad times. And always, always remember that no matter where you are in your skill level, no matter how old you are when you decide to be an artist, and no matter *how good everyone else is* compared to you.. they aren't you. We mock the special snowflake, but the fact is... everyone IS unique and different. Everyone has some expression within them that is unique to them and them alone. Don't forget it, don't loose sight of the fact that you have value, even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes.
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© 2013 - 2020 JessicaMDouglas
Comments19
anonymous's avatar
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manuelka's avatar
manuelkaHobbyist Traditional Artist
This was just *the* right thing I needed to read right now. What with me trying to get back into the artistic saddle and taking it easy and making toilet paper roll art at the moment... well, I really needed some encouragement. Thank you, Jess *glomps*
JessicaMDouglas's avatar
JessicaMDouglasProfessional General Artist
*hugs*
VioletRosePetals's avatar
VioletRosePetalsHobbyist General Artist
I completely agree with all of this. Thank you so much for posting this.
puffbird's avatar
puffbird Traditional Artist
Oh, and I love your Exploring Art series! even if I usually reply VERY late, I'm reading them. :) I have to save them to read when I have time to think about them and reply.
JessicaMDouglas's avatar
JessicaMDouglasProfessional General Artist
<3<3 no worries. I don't require posting on them! I'm pausing in them till I get this work stuff done,t hen I'm going to babble some more (plus right now my head is full of outrage about news, not so much thinking on art)
puffbird's avatar
puffbird Traditional Artist
I remind myself often that I can only compare myself now to myself before, never to someone else. I'm learning and progressing at my own pace, and the only thing that matters is whether or not I'm improving.

(oh, and whether or not other people like my work enough to invest in it.)
0SupermarineSpitfire's avatar
0SupermarineSpitfireProfessional General Artist
:iconfacebooklikeplz:

I totally get this. I've stopped fretting over other graphic designer's work on here, Behance or elsewhere, or worrying that I don't know enough software to do some of the stuff they do. Instead, I'm working on getting even better with the tools I have (Photoshop, Illustrator) and learning new ones (InDesign, Premiere Pro). I'm also getting out and about online, particularly on LinkedIn and various forums, asking and answering questions and sharing my experience, showing off just how much stuff I already know. :D And I'm getting into the right habits - getting a good night's sleep, being washed and dressed and into work more by 9 in the morning, avoiding distractions as much as possible, etc. And I definitely keep in touch with people here on dA - the best support and mentoring of any sites I've been a member of. :)
LittleCorax's avatar
I'm sure I'll have more to say on this later, but for now, I whole-heartedly agree.

Except for people who put 2-3 blocks of color on a canvas and call it art. I know i'm not supposed to judge, but.... to me, that's not art. That's trying to coordinate colors for painting a room or something. Or it could just be that i can't wrap my head around people paying thousands of dollars for something like that. Of course, I don't think stacking garbage cans is art either, but if there are people willing to pay stupid amounts of money for it, I'm not going to tell them not to. :)
JessicaMDouglas's avatar
JessicaMDouglasProfessional General Artist
I'm not so sure about the abstract art. Some of them I find truly lovely and appealing. There's a series of overlapping blocks in shades of nuetral browns with just one or two reds in it that I just LOVE and want to have. I'm not sure why. I just like it a lot. that's art for me too.

But yeah, stacking garbage cans doesn't resonate well with me, but I know a few people who feel it speaks to them. So I can't say it's not art.
LittleCorax's avatar
Abstract art is the worst, I think, to try and deal with. Not in a bad way, mind, it's just... perhaps the hardest.

Surrealism, I can do. Because then at least I can tell that I'm looking at a melting clock or an elephant with super long, spindly lets (I'm a Dali fan, clearly, lol). I can see clearly the image/s even if i don't get the full meaning.

But abstract?? Some of it I get, even if it's not my thing, but the majority of it I just don't. For people like me, it's hard to really understand or appreciate whatever thought or feeling went into a "piece" when it looks as if there wasn't any. I might as well take all my old high school notes, redact the notes part, leave the random line doodles from the margins and call it "The Lazy Parrot Sitting by a River."

There have been a few abstract pieces I've like over the years, but Picasso's "Guernica" is on a vastly different level to me than Jackson Pollock.

I guess it breaks down to the fact that for most abstract stuff, I just really don't get it. LOL.
AnnaCStansfield's avatar
AnnaCStansfieldProfessional General Artist
Well I needed that today.
I'm in this up and down place with myself and my artwork, and while I'm accomplishing more than I have in years I am really struggling to just be happy.
Anyways, thank you, again, for your awesome and uplifting words of wisdom. :hug:
JessicaMDouglas's avatar
JessicaMDouglasProfessional General Artist
*hugs* you're very welcome. Cheer up my dear, you are doing great!
AnnaCStansfield's avatar
AnnaCStansfieldProfessional General Artist
Thank you so very much! :hug:
Nehemet's avatar
NehemetProfessional Artisan Crafter
I think it helps that what art I do is for me. I'm happy to get better than I was last week. It took me a little while to get to that place, but I'm better for it.
JessicaMDouglas's avatar
JessicaMDouglasProfessional General Artist
I'm glad you're progressing.
pearwood's avatar
pearwoodHobbyist Photographer
You keep talking about photography and photographers. :)

I like having you in my support group. :hug:
JessicaMDouglas's avatar
JessicaMDouglasProfessional General Artist
lol *hugs on*
pearwood's avatar
pearwoodHobbyist Photographer
:hug:
zemimsky's avatar
zemimskyHobbyist General Artist
Been there done that. My depression thought was more based on my life situation, since I do not per say live from my art but it was enough to shut any bit of artistic drive i had. And without art, it worsened, deepening the "I'm not good at anything - I'm worthless." sort of thoughts.

And what i find insulting is the lack of appreciation from the viewers on art. They think it's made like a sandwich! Slap together elements and boom voilà! they don't consider the time, skills and that ever escaping scent of inspiration. Artists build bridges between abstract emotions and visions, capture them and bring them into the physical world where most of us can see and appreciate - but a good majority don't appreciate the work behind the finished product. I can say! I love music but I am completely clueless as to how to give it full value since i don't know how to manipulate sounds and how complex the work can be.

Same is applied to visual arts by everyday people. And the more an artist is just simply ignored in their art and vision of a certain thing, the more the steps go deep into delusion, questioning, until they reach the bottom and just shut down and quit. And it's sad because for those humans, art was the reason why they chose this incarnation, or this path in their life to share something they thought they had a unique vision at.
anonymous's avatar
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