A love note from me to all the creatives, who work from the soul and have succumbed at times to the negative chatter around them.
A lot of what people do, which we are all guilty of at some time or another, is resting too much consideration on the opinions of those around us. Our ego is so hugely interlinked with our art practices, we are laying out our talents and often our thoughts and feelings in order to showcase what we can do. Two things that cannot co-exist for your creative practices is the ego alongside the freedom of self expression. It is too volatile.
People put others down to their face, or behind their back. Both equally as cutting. It can be their way of a cheap win. A quick rush of feeling better and above someone else. If they cannot or do not care to go out and create themselves it is the only way they can involve themselves in a way they feel on top.
In order to protect your creativity in a way you can continue with authenticity without bending to the opinions of others, you first have to realise it is not about you. Whether someone likes your work or not, is close to you or a stranger, their opinion on what you enjoy doing is none of your business. You’re doing it for you. Take away the egotistical thoughts where the meaning placed on your work is in the opinions of what people think of it. When you’re really channeling, pushing your own boundaries and experimenting with your skills, remember that the opinions of others are not your problem, and create from a pure place in that moment!
When you don’t care, you hold the power over your practice. It is you who gets to enjoy it from start to finish. If you work in a way that you love, and you accept and revel in the idea that this work will not be for everyone, you’re untouchable. If it was liked by everyone, it wouldn’t be loved by someone. Aim to please yourself and of course hope that maybe a niche few will like it, the few who get it. Don’t aim to convert people.
What will you remember when you look back? That few weeks you spent your evenings writing that book. The months on a collection of paintings. The years on a sculpure. The decades working towards a career. Will you remember the praise you got momentarily afterwards or will you remember the space you were in when you created it, the season of life that defined it. The pleasure you get from looking at something you enjoyed doing for a set amount of time is worth more than any praise or critisism. For me and my new collection, I already remember my son waking up from his naps and inspecting the colourful animals, pointing out each one. I remember the albums I listened to when I worked on the foundations and the lectures on youtube I listened to as I painted the tiny details. I drank a lot of tea! (My other collections are usually a coffee doused memory…) Winter with hot drinks, losing the daylight quickly, rainy days inside. Cold, fresh sunny walks. That is what I see when I look at a body of work. What could anybodies thoughts on your finished work do to extinguish the memories of creating the work? The memories are yours to keep.
Don’t dilute yourself. Don’t make yourself palatable for other people. Create with authenticity and for enjoyment. Quiet the chatter, the unhelpful opinions, the talking down, its not important. You do you, with conviction and keep your creative practices sacred.
Artwork by Emilio Villalba