I don't need to make a cow-dung Madonna, I do need to get over my fear of making something that someone won't like.
December 4, 2011 9:25 AM Subscribe
I want to move on and grow and get better, but I feel like I'm at the foot of Everest. Help me not hate my art. How can I find the courage to make the art that I need to make in order to feel fulfilled and honest in my work?
posted by anonymous to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I am a full time artist of sorts. I won't go into too much detail about what I do because I'd rather keep this as anonymous as possible. I mean, it's hard for me to write about this topic, and even journaling about it on my own elicits waves of shame.
So, here's the thing. I've been putting my work out there for about four years now and at the risk of sounding like an ass I will just say that I've gotten consistently positive feedback, but even without that (or maybe I should say despite that), I know that I'm good at what I do, and I love doing what I do - none of these are the issue. The issue is that I hate the actual work I'm putting out, and feel I have a pattern of making art that is too safe, too blah, and then resenting and judging, (or just getting depressed and feeling jealous of), other artists who are doing more interesting, challenging work because I know I have it in me to make more honest, less self-conscious art.
I currently have a decent amount of what I do out there, searchable on the web, and I have this awful, horrible feeling when I think of the impression people might get from what they find when they search me. I don't feel that it reflects me. My self-consciousness and fear of judgment is something that seeps into my work all the time, and I often make choices that will give me a "nice" result rather than something real and raw, even though the latter is the kind of thing that speaks to me more and "nice" makes me cringe. Oh, how I am always cringing!
I guess what I create does reflect what's going on inside of me in some way, in the sense that I am dealing with a lot of fear, but it doesn't reflect my true state if you know what I mean.
I have had some issues with anxiety and saw a psychotherapist a couple of years ago which helped a lot. I don't feel the urgent need for therapy right now, and because it's expensive and I don't have insurance I am leaving it as a last resort. I have a pretty good handle on the anxiety issues that were plaguing me before and feel like I'm stable and generally happy. The only thing that seems to be bothering me these days is this "I hate my art" thing I've got going on.
What I would like to do is spend some time concentrating solely on creating a new body of work, working on a new process maybe, and removing myself from the insipid work I've done in the past.
How do I take those first steps toward being the new, fearless me?
Do other artists experience this sort of thing?
Any words of advice would be enormously appreciated.
As a full time artist, how do I deal with panicked moments of, "I suck and I hate my art and none of it represents me at all, it's all just arbitrary stuff that I've absorbed and unconsciously regurgitated in a contrived way, and it comes out racked with hesitation and fear. It might be soothing but that's only because it's as boring as a fish tank screensaver. I can't get my shit together to make something cohesive, and I don't feel good about anything I've done… except for maybe that piece, and that other one, but that's it!" and the general feeling that I'm not being honest in my work.
throwaway email: artisfrightening @ gmail . com