The Inner Dialogue
Self: “I called this show What I Want. But I am afraid.”
Me: “Afraid of what?”
Self: "That people won’t like it. This is about how I feel. This is about freeing myself. Don’t judge me. I am trying not to care about what you think.”
Me: “Is it scary?”
Self: “Yes. They’ve been telling me how to fit in. I have listened but it’s time now for me to stop being afraid. I am turning myself inside out. I am vulnerable. That’s ok. It’s time. No questions. No corrections. No adjustments. My soul is speaking now.”
With calling this show ‘What I Want” I am on the path of self-exploration and growth.
Will this path ever end? Probably not, but it is the journey that I seek.
In 2005 I had this moment when I suddenly woke up and everything changed. Up until that time I had felt vulnerable. As an artist you create something that comes from your heart; something that moves you on a deeper level. Taking your feelings and showing them off on a white wall for people to judge was not an easy task for me. Then, I heard this strong voice inside of me that made me stand up for myself. It was time that I announced what my art was really all about. I felt that if I was not going to step up now that I was not going to be able to be successful.
I am a self taught artist from Germany without any kind of art education and honestly I am happy about that. I love spending my hours in my studio and figuring it all out by myself, letting my soul paint what it wants and what I feel makes me grow.
Back then though outside of my studio I was dealing with galleries and clients telling me how I should paint and what changes I should make to my art. It felt like I was being pulled into two different directions. I felt the judgments strongly and being a sensitive individual it took me a long time listening to opinions while standing strong and holding my ground.
I remember showing my portfolio to a gallery owner in Los Angeles. He loved my work and wanted to represent me but told me that I would have to change my style and paint in a different medium. I know many artists have heard this before. Because you have to pay your bills it might be enticing to change your style. But, if it is totally against what your art stands for then it probably is not a good idea to make major adjustments and sacrifice your brand and what made your work special in the first place.
It takes a lot of courage as an artist to stay vulnerable, create art that moves your heart and at the same time listening to people’s judgments and mainly well meant advice and comments. Most interesting comment I have ever received: “I see Hitler in your paintings” which made me feel inclined to reply with “I am sure you do”. I took it with humor. People go through different emotions when they see a piece of art work. In the rare case of a negative comment I have learned to let that bounce off me with a smile.
Many artists that start out feel the fear of their art not being accepted or just not being good enough. As an artist you have to believe in yourself from the very beginning because no one else will…. at first. Keep on creating and you will start finding people who will love your work. It sometimes takes time to grow into having this mind set and being able to say “This is what I do. Period!"
I am not saying don’t go with the flow and ignore advice. No, listen to it all, find the balance and let your gut decide where to make adjustments. At the end it is all about who you are as an artist.