Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The overlord does not approve...

Smokey is not impressed.

My portrait of Tripod, the three-legged Australian Shepherd who blasted past me at the Lucky Mutt Strut last week, is MUCH LESS IMPORTANT than, oh just about anything else she can think of, including spiders and the lint ball that's under the desk.

It doesn't matter that it's still in the ugly underpainting phase. Even if it were finished, it would lack her approval. It's just missing something...interesting in the way of subject matter, I suppose. Like a CAT.

Which got me to thinking about artists and approval of our work. I used to think I needed EVERYONE ELSE'S approval, OR I WASN'T AN ARTIST. This wasn't just when I was a kid or a teenager. It lasted well into my forties. I am AMAZED I got as much done as I did, given that I felt I was sneaking one over on everybody every time I touched a pencil or a paintbrush.

What a load of garbage.

So I wonder how many other artists have put off producing because they either a) didn't get the recognition they felt they deserved for their art, so they invalidated themselves (Geez, those drunken frat boys didn't notice the brilliance of the dialogue in my play, so I guess I'm not REALLY a writer) or b) had their art invalidated by somebody (Don't quit your day job.), somebody who probably considered themSELVES once a potential artist of some sort, but then gave up to become that most talentless of all professions, a CRITIC. I know that, for YEARS, I was UNBELIEVABLY critical of artists who actually had the COURAGE to be artists. All because I was pissed off at myself for being such a COWARD.

You recognize this, don't you? We've all been on the giving end or the receiving end of this at different points in time.

Somehow I got to the point where the only approval that really matters to me is my OWN. Sure, I WANT people to like my work--it's only possible to have a viable art business when your work communicates to people and they like it enough to buy it. But really, whether somebody approves of my work matters only to THAT extent. And if somebody else doesn't like it, fine. Everybody's entitled to an opinion; just don't expect me to agree with you. No matter WHO you are.

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