Art and Fear of Falling

Perch 1, oil painting by B. J. C. M. Studio

What is I fail? What if I fall?

Yup, it’s a day for Doubts.

I’m getting ready for an art show, my first “real” art crawl. It’s been a lot of work, and a big learning curve. I’ve been very chipper about it on my “studio/business” blog, but part of me is in panic mode, already calculating what happens next. Do I want to keep doing this? I can schmooze with the best of them when I have to – I used to work for a chamber of commerce and tourism bureau – but I’ve never enjoyed that part of the job.

I’m an introvert. Lots of creatives are.

But of all these other artists, the ones who are art crawl regulars … they’re probably introverted, too, right? So how do they do it? What if I hate it? A friend of mine says the St. Paul Art Crawls (spring and fall) are her two biggest events every year. I don’t have her experience or reputation, but I know (or at least hope) the paintings are good …  What if they’re not to anyone’s taste? What if no one buys them?

In short: what if I fail? What if I fall?

I know enough amazingly creative people – artists, writers – to understand that talent ain’t always an indicator of success. Experience, hard work, yes, yes… but it’s also a willingness to do the right kind of work. To market yourself. Someone who is “good” but can market themselves right will almost always make a bigger splash than someone with incredible creative talent, but no jones for the business side.

And I’m a muddler at the business side. I can’t balance a checkbook, am shy with large groups, and am terribly awkward about promoting my self or my work. (Plus when the depression strikes, I’m hard pressed to answer the phone, much less tell people to buy my work!)

But this is freelance, this is how it works. And if it’s an uphill battle sometimes, I think I can make it work, but I need encouragement, I need real artists to look at and like my work, I need “real” customers to want to shell out money for it, to fall in love with it and want it for their homes. Otherwise … what the hell am I doing?

So I guess the next few days will say a lot. And then I need to seriously think about my options: do I keep painting? Or does it become a hobby, and I go back to a “real” (my shrink used the word “soulless”) corporate art job? Or worse?

I’m gritting my teeth, and I’m putting it – myself – out there. Wish me luck.

I’ll let you know how that pans out.

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