Welcome to my third installment of Happiness Project Reflection series blog post!
I want to make a quick announcement that I’m having an art show at Columbia City Bakery in Seattle during the month of July and showing/selling some of my original drawings from my 365 Day Happiness Project! I’m having a mini reception on Thursday 7/9 from 5-7pm. If you’re in the area, stop by and say hello 🙂
Ok back to our regular programming!
It’s refreshing for me to look back and reflect on my 365 Day Happiness Project. When I was in a middle of it, I was focused on producing the work and not so much about the impact it was having on me or the people who followed my work. Now that I had some time to reflect back on it, I can truly appreciate the lessons I learned.
What I wanted to accomplish the most through my daily sketch project was to go outside of my comfort zone every day. I was never comfortable calling myself an artist when I first started sharing my drawings as an adult a few years ago. I didn’t go to an art school. My artistic style is very simple and child-like. I felt like I was taking up precious space in the world filled with “real” artists whom I perceived to have a lot more talents and legitimacy.
It’s a cliche, but you’re your own worst critic. You notice every single flaw in your work. You’re afraid people might think you’re dumb or so arrogant to think your work is worth being seen by others.
The truth is no one else cares about your work as much as you do.
Take for example your Instagram feed. How many people do you follow? What do you remember about your favorite artists’ posts yesterday? Or even 5 minutes ago? Do you keep a log of all of their flaws and mistakes? I hope not. Unless that’s your job. Like the artist paid you to keep track of that sort of thing. But I doubt it.
To you, the artist, it’s an obsession. You don’t think it’s as good as it can be. It’s not at your 100% level. It would be so rude to subject your followers to such an atrocity!!! NOOOO!!
To your followers, it is just another thing you posted. And you’re probably among hundreds , if not thousands, of people they follow. I’m not saying this in a negative way or saying that they don’t care. It’s a perspective.
People value your work for different reasons. Maybe your sense of humor matches theirs. Maybe they love your corky style. Maybe what you’re doing inspires them. Whatever the reason, I guarantee you that no body is obsessed with how “perfect” your work is as much as you are. In fact, I have a few artists I admire so very much, and in my eyes, anything and everything they do is great. They can’t do wrong even if they tried! Imagine someone may be feeling this way about you!
While I was working on the daily sketch project, I received consistent feedback from my followers that they can relate to my work so much and how it helped them appreciate little things in their life. They weren’t art critics analyzing the techniques I was using or what art trainings I had. People felt connected to my work beyond how “good” of an artist I was. My work, including what I considered to be flaws, resonated with them. It’s kind of like falling in love with someone: you can’t logically explain why, but you just are.
I’m a believer of lifetime learning and growth. It’s important to be able to look at your work critically and figure out how you can improve. You can do it on your own or ask for a constructive criticism from your fellow artists or your mentors. Yes, a total stranger may criticize your work or give you an unsolicited advice. It probably means that your work is triggering some reactions in them (which you do want), but they may not be the right audience for you. You can take parts of their criticism that are valid or helpful and leave the rest. It is perfectly fine that your work does not resonate with everyone. Art is a very subjective and personal thing.
The world is one BIG place. There are people out there who would be totally into the unique voice you can bring to the table. Don’t wait until you’re absolutely completely sure your work is 100% perfect because it may never happen. If you’re a chronic perfectionist, this video of Seanwes talking about the cure for perfectionism may help. Ship it at 90%. I try to remember his advice when I find myself obsessing about every single details and “flaws” in my work.
Don’t let your imaginary haters stop you from putting yourself out there!!