This is dedicated to any frustrated artist…
It made me cry.
It put me right smack dab up against the years of deep conditioning I have fought my entire life.
I absolutely loved everything about it. Here’s why:
I grew up in the 50s, where it was, “little girls are to be seen and not heard – and ideally, not even seen…”
And, “Here, dear, take this pencil and paper and go hush up, don’t bother us…”
And then in art school, where the unspoken message was, “If you try to sell your work you’re selling out – art for art’s sake, you know…”
And from my father, who literally told me, “You’re just a woman, you’ll never make it, especially as an artist. You’ll just get married and make babies and give up…”
And him telling me, “You better take graphic design, because painters don’t make it – at least you’ll have a fall-back…”
And then later on, galleries’ snide remarks like, “We don’t carry art by women…” and “Your art is just like (local famous man artist) – we couldn’t possibly show it here…” and “Why don’t you go home and bake cakes?”
And a curator who said, “You’re just a woman, you shouldn’t be so ambitious…” and another who said, “You’ll never understand the art world, dear, just go home…”
This was in the 90s! Wasn’t ‘equality’ supposed to be more advanced by then? Evidently not.
I spent 35 years with suicidal thoughts in the back of my mind.
I couldn’t figure out why I’d been given this amazing gift, only to be criticized, torn apart, derided and rejected.
I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t last at any ‘real’ jobs, and just knew I’d end up under a bridge, filthy, starving and dying desperate and alone.
I didn’t know what to do. On any level.
Every day I fantasized about how I’d do the Dirty Deed, but thankfully never had the courage to choose a method and carry through…
And every night I was afraid to go to sleep knowing I’d suffer hideous nightmares of being beaten and shunned and derided…
And every day I wondered why I was such a failure, even though I tried so hard.
I wondered why I did my best work and hardly anyone bought it.
I watched as people visited my studio and oooohed and ahhhhhed, and then turned to each other saying, “Honey, let’s go get some coffee…” and never came back or bought any of the art they ‘loved’ so much.
Turns out, it wasn’t my fault.
I had deeply internalized all those messages and made them into >I< was a failure, >I< was the one to blame, >I< would ‘never make it’ –
It wasn’t my fault.
I want to scream this from the bloody rooftops!
To every artist who feels like a failure, especially to the women artists!
We were never taught that marketing is as necessary as breathing.
We were never taught how to market our work within the context of our times.
We were never taught how to buckle up and be courageous and TALK about our work – to EVERYone.
We were never taught how to have the confidence to keep trying, and trying, and trying, no matter the outcome.
We were never taught to switch gears to something else if what we were doing wasn’t working.
We were never taught to look for our markets or how to slide into them.
We were never taught how to recognize the customers who would buy, and buy again.
We were never taught what to say, or who to approach, or how.
We were never taught how to hold our heads up against criticism and derision.
We were never taught what to do when we had inklings of success!
We were never taught how to handle our money, as much or as little as that might be.
In a nutshell, we were never taught jack shit about selling our work, and criticized and made fun of if we did try.
Now do you see why I cried?
I’m free of self-blame. I’m done with it. No more ‘it’s all my fault!’
Now I can open to watching all these videos and classes and trainings with an open mind and heart.
Now I know, even though it was NEVER my fault, that I did amazingly well despite the handicaps, my buying into the victimhood made me complicit in my ‘failure’ to succeed
No more victim-me.
No more depression, confusion or collapsing of my energy.
No more buying into others’ opinions or suggestions until I really look at them and ask myself, how can I make this work for me? No more complying with the status quo, even on the most subtle levels.
Thank you [Patrick and David of ArtStoreFronts.com – today’s workshop leaders] for telling us to market market market until we are blue in the face.
For helping us get that it has to be an every day, consistent effort, no matter the immediate results.
For helping us see it wasn’t/isn’t our fault that we grew up in a swamp of negative messages – but that we can choose right now to step out of it and rise up.
We can celebrate every moment of the 3 to 5 years it might take to build up our lists and customer bases and collectors.
Cherish every damn moment.
No more tears.
No more self-recrimination – if it’s your fault, fix it.
If you haven’t marketed, start.
If you have started, do more.
If you’ve done more, do even more.
If you’ve done that, help someone else.
Man, what a relief.
Under the Sun
Oils on prepped wood, 12″x9″x.3″
Get your print of it here: