Today is the first day of Photo LA and I have been fortunate to be curated into Sarah Lee Projects @ Photo LA 2015 with three other amazing photographers (more on them to come). The upside is that I've had the chance to work with terrific people and hopefully find the 4 day event rewarding, exciting and fun. The potential downside is it exposes me to everything I normally try to avoid in my everyday life: gobs of people and selling myself. It got me thinking about how often I find myself on scary paths.
Truth is, all goals have difficult steps. Actors want to have an audience, so they have to hit the talk-show circuit ("what if I sound stupid"), writers want someone to buy their book so they do book-signings ("what if no one shows up")...we all have the same issue of doing the crap we're not wild about to continue doing the stuff we can't exist without.
I've had students tell me that "I just want to make the work, that's what important, not if anyone sees it." My response is usually: "well, let's think about the difference between therapy and art. If the work is therapy...then I agree, that an audience is not important. But, if you're striving to make art, then art is a process of communication and part of your responsibility to the work is to find it a place in the world." Yes, it's excruciating to bare one's soul (or even to bear one's soul) to the world...but if you can somehow pretend that's not happening, or focus on your end goals, it can help you find the courage to move forward.
I believe that once you've created a work, it has its own rights and it needs to find its place in the world. Sitting in your studio/closet/drawer isn't enough. What if no one wants it? Well...every creative has worried about that from year 1000BC...maybe not those early cave painting guys, let's face it, they had a captive market. Ok, let's say no one wants the work. It could mean multiple things. Maybe they're idiots. Maybe it's crap. Maybe it's too personal. Maybe it's the wrong market. Maybe it's ahead of its time...who knows? Maybe it's really just a step in your process of becoming a better artist...and you'll realize that in a few years and that takes patience. It's important to remember that making 2015 the year you get better will mean doing some of the crap that makes you crazy.
Patience and Courage.
xxx from the front!
p.s. if you go to Photo LA, come by and say hi...