Aug 23, 2015

Sharing Your Art, Sharing Yourself...How Introverts Connect with the Outside World

The art making process can be, and in most cases is a very private, individual, quiet act performed by introverts that are quite satisfied sequestering themselves from the outside world while practicing in their preferred medium.  

We play and toil, celebrate and lament safely in our own, carefully designed, inspirational space that at best is a physical representation of the inside of our heads (yes, even when it's cluttered). 

We develop relationships with each piece...at times a love/hate...but hopefully...eventually one of respect and appreciation.

And then it's time to show.

What horror?!  That piece that we've committed hours, weeks, months, sometimes years to may be glanced at for mere seconds.  How will anyone be able to appreciate the agony and the passion that went into it without an explanation?  

Showing your work, and attending your own gallery opening is a most surreal experience.  Like a bird booting it's baby from the nest..we put our work on display, then watch from afar as patrons gather.  Some may be familiar: friends and family showing their support showing up with smiles, hugs, and flowers, and pre-armed with praise.  And then there are the strangers that you don't know, and that certainly don't know you as they harshly critique the work with you standing in earshot. 

So why put ourselves through this hell!? 

It's necessary 
How else will you know how people (besides your own mother) truly respond to the work?
How else will you progress and get your work out there?

It's a way for us to communicate that goes deeper than we are able with words.  
During a film festival showing of a piece that I poured my heart into, I experienced something unexpected when I witnessed an entire theatre...more than 550 people...witnessing my soul on the screen in front of them.  They were captivated, and I had found a new voice.

It's courageous
At some point we have to let go, let it be what it is and move on.  Showing helps us do just that.  Put it out there. Be brave. Move on.

It pays off
Sales happen. Requests happen. And a reputation starts to build and hopefully gather momentum.  You may start to acquire collectors that will follow you and attend future shows (start that mailing list now!)  You won't know or experience the rewards until you try.

So...how do you survive your first showing?


Gather support from family and friends

Having friendly faces around you is comforting and will hopefully make the time go by quicker.


Prepare your answers
You can always let the art speak for itself...but you might benefit from having a few clever things ready to say including: 

  • anecdotes about the creative process and your inspiration, 
  • ideas for your next series (tease your next show),
  • and evasion tactics (for anything you don't want to answer).

Hide or Schmooze
You can choose to stand outside and stay somewhat hidden and mysterious, or go all in and practice your schmooze...just remember that everyone is there to see you...or at least a visual manifestation of a part of you...so revel in it!