Tonight my Mom asked me what I'd been doing with the die-cuts I'd made the last time I was here. She's looking for ideas for how she can use the die-cuts to make cards and posters. I sheepishly told her I was using them in my art journal as collage elements. Then, she did something she hasn't really done in a long time she said, "Do you have any pictures up on your blog?"*
I then shared with her some of my art journal pages, things I share with you guys on a regular basis but not so much with my family (well Chris gets to see them all the time.) Growing up my family was mostly always supportive of my art and other activities. They instilled in me, for the most part, that I can do anything. It was more the other people around me that made me fear I could not. People who would ask me, "What are you going to do with an art degree?" "How will you make any money." "Is there money in that?" "Don't make the mistake so and so made, they got a degree in (something not at all related to art) because they loved it, but now they live in that shithole over on such and such road." Seriously if you listen to all the critics out there you'll never get anything done in your life. The critics they eat at your ambition take away your drive to succeed and make you feel awful. There will ALWAYS be someone out there to look at what you're doing and putting it down. There are a lot of negative people out there.
Sometimes you can't help but to listen to them. The critics, once you hear what they have to say it's stuck in your head, on repeat. Like a record scratched on the worst part of a song, doomed to play the same crap over and over. Your stuck until you decide what to do. Some of us need to get angry to get past it. Some sad. Some of us need to hit the bottom to figure it out. Some of us never make it out.
The real question is what do we do once we get past those critics in our head? Those of us who have started our artistic journey and are moving forward what do we do? Do we put others like us down, call their art shit to build ourselves us or do we reach out and pass out our tools and knowledge to bring others around us up and forward with us? We each have a choice to make.
- What choice will you make?
- (you could use that as a journal prompt)
This is not to say that once you take a walk down the artistic path that you'll never replay those critics, sometimes, even those of us who have had amazing supportive parents, loving supportive partners and crazy artistic friends get bogged down into the crap of critic mindedness. It's maddening to do what you love and to hear that thing in your head say, "This will never amount to anything. You'll never amount to anything. And you'll never make any money."
What I do when I'm feeling like this is I write it down. I get it all out of my system. Then I go fold some paper. Take a walk. Play with my dogs. Cook an amazing meal. Do something not art related. Take a break. Then I go back and obliterate it. Gesso it collage it. ink it. get rid of it. Sometimes I've written it down torn it up and collaged those pieces back into a page. Then gessoed over the top of that. Then painted. The idea was to get rid of it all. get it out of my head and move on.
Here's the thing, you can never move into the positive side of life if you continue to put others down to build yourself up.
The conversation with my Mom really left me with a feeling that, yes, I can do this, this Ning experiment, I can do it. You see I've had questions about it, worried it would fail. Worried it wouldn't take off and questioned what I was doing with it. But that simple 15 minute long conversation with my Mom really made me think, "I can do this." Part of that conversation was about how the internet community is a powerful thing. One person has an idea and another builds on it, until it's this huge thing, like the snowball getting bigger and bigger as it rolls down the mountain. WE just need the right temperature, mix of snow and speed on that snow ball, and soon enough, it will be huge.
And it will. It will be friggin' huge.
*Yes, my family, coworkers and most of my friends know about this blog. I don't hide my internet self from my real life self, because it's all the same.