Let us take a moment away from our Art-ing and consider: Why do we make art? No seriously.
I’m at a time in my career where I found myself questioning my purpose in doing this for a living and for a calling. Although it sucks, it’s also one of the most important transitions I’ve had to make. You need to fall first before you can have an “Up” to climb to.
I realized I had to experience what I’ve come to experience so that I could realign my perspectives on this whole thing. I used to think, like I suppose many young artists like me do, that it was all a popularity contest. That is was all about who’s best and who’s hot. Yet it became a lot more apparent to me that this “thing” we’re all doing has almost very little to do with prestige. I was being so small-minded like that.
There’s only ever been one enemy. It’s especially difficult to see this among all the noise. We face criticisms all the time; we can be ridiculed at out jobs, admonished at home for not pulling our weight, nitpicked on by our social circle. And that’s before we’ve even begun talking about our Art! But look deeper beyond the surface and you realize that there’s only ever been one enemy that’s truly been haunting you: Yourself.
I know this might sound like pseudo-inspiration BS here, but bear with me and really think about it here. Why is it do we feel angry or cornered when we get criticized or singled out for our shortcomings? Why is it that when friends point out where we’ve gone wrong do we feel a slight to our person? Everyone, I mean Everyone, feels it. It doesn’t matter how disciplined or self-restraining we are.
We all carry a rapier with our shield
I know this might not seem special or revolutionary to some. If you’re among those reading this who already know this, congratulations; you are one of the resilient.
I’ve been critiqued, and I’ve critiqued others’ works (when I was asked). I had to make sure I was asked because I know that somewhere along the line, I may hurt that person. Initially, I thought that it was supposed to be that you’re supposed to pretend that it doesn’t sting. But later on, I figured that was unrealistic.
We know it happens and we all totally acknowledge it. Let’s not pretend we don’t; that’s not the point. Art Directors judge portfolios all the time and they don’t hold back. It’s not because they expect you to be in the right attitude to know it’s not meant to hurt; it totally is meant to hurt. It’s because they expect you to be mature enough to overcome yourself when they tell you what’s wrong with your art.
And that comes with the package, because part of growing is to overcome that germ inside you that makes you feel inadequate and succeed.