It is good to examine ourselves every now and then and I have recently asked myself, “Am I becoming an attention-seeker?”
I suspect that maybe I am, but I do try to keep it under control :) When I first joined Redbubble I didn’t get much attention. Since then I have slowly made some good friends on Redbubble and they say lots of nice things about my work. Okay – I’m being honest – I like it. Attention can be addictive and I realise now I was in danger of overdosing on it :) A handful of friends have gently drawn myattention to this failing of mine and I have taken what I feel are the necessary steps towards minimising it.
Despite toning down my penchant for self-publicity, I still announce my Redbubble viewing figures after every ten thousand, but I usually only leave the announcement up for a few days :)
I love having my work Favourited and Featured, but while I once filled my Journal with thank-yous to groups for Featuring me, I now thank them privately. I also do a monthly Journal announcement thanking them all, which I leave up for a few hours or days at the most. They probably don’t see my Journal anyway, unless I am on their Watchlists.
While a very small minority probably see me as an attention-seeker, the cold facts of the matter are that of my 54 Journal entries, only six are actually about me; five are of general interest and forty-three are tributes to artists I admire on Redbubble and elsewhere and actually seek attention for them too.
Initially, it took me a lot of emotional effort to get out of my comfort zone and start to actually enjoy my own efforts. Catherine Walker was the artist who finally made me see the importance of liking my own work and I am grateful to her. Others, such as Brian Towers, have encouraged me immensely, with Brian being responsible for making me aware of the importance of shadows in a painting.
I may have gained confidence in my work since joining Redbubble, but I’d never think my art was better than other people’s work – no way :) I’d deserve to be flattened to the ground if I thought that, but I have a long way to go before I can equal most artists on Redbubble – if ever.
I do feel, however, that compared to what I was doing ten years ago my work is improving. I feel no shame in saying that.
Many artists indulge in false modesty, announcing their work as “something I threw together,” or “another feeble effort of mine.” That’s not always the best policy, as I’m sure they’d be hurt if someone agreed with them. What is it about art that encourages such false modesty though? Do we feel obliged to be humble in case we get verbally attacked? Maybe.
But does the electrician finish his job by saying, “Well, I did my best, but with my lack of skill you’ll probably be electrocuted the minute you press the switch”.
Does the baker say, “I’ve made you a wedding cake, but to be honest, it tasts like crap and anyone could have done better?”
Does the tailor say, “Here’s your suit; be careful how you walk or the trousers will split, as I am not very good at stitches?”
We should be able to say, “Here is a painting I did. I have done my best and I do hope you like it.”
As an artist, I am still at the child-like stage where if I do a painting which I think is good, then I want to share it with my friends. I feel honoured when they ask me to look at their work too – it means they value my opinion, or at the very least want me to see it because we are friends.
While my work falls short of most on Redbubble, I often do think a painting of mine is better than my own previous work though.
The only person I am truly in competition with is the Dave Edwards of yesterday.
Feel free to ask me to view your work if I forget to … I will be pleased that you want me to see it.
An attempt to encourage others to value their own work.