“If you can find a way to be truly ambivalent about what people think about you as an artist you’re completely freed up because you just end up doing things that turn you on creatively…” – Amy Poehler.
It isn’t easy to exist in this mindset. What about critiques? What about the opinions of jurors and gallerists? The buying public?
When my work turned in a new direction, I wrestled with “what will people think?” I’d received mostly positive feedback on my work over the course of my career – sometimes critiques in college art classes were brutal and demoralizing, but I learned from them. What’s not to like about colorful paintings of humorous subject matter, ceramic mugs and vessels, coiled baskets and sculptural objects? I enjoyed creating art in all these mediums, but a conceptual urge lurked down deep that had not been satisfied.
Who was I creating for? I wasn’t selling enough to sustain my life. I needed to satisfy that deeper urge, so I faced the reality that I might not ever sell another piece of art if I succumbed to it. I might not ever get juried into another exhibit. My work will probably never be shown at SOFA again. People may not like what I create. So what?
I had to become ambivalent.
Photo by Sue Sommers.