Artist? Me? Pfffft…

Why is it so hard to accept praise, and value your own creativity? Am I the only one who suffers from this twitching-in-the-corner malady that sees an ordinarily rational woman turn into a spoonful of jelly when someone asks “How much do you want for this?”

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What a strange and wonderful thing art is. What I mean is, it’s totally cool when other people look at stuff you made, with your own grubby little paws, in the extra bedroom of your house, out of toilet paper and flour….and like it. And when I say other people, I don’t mean people who have known you for twenty years, or people who grew within the boggy confines of your very own loins.

My spawn love my art.

They also love my texting, which is strange, because I really suck at the texting which draws into question their unconditional love of my art. I have no such faith in my own creativity.

Other people, now. People who are other are the ones who are new, and strange and unbeknownst to one.

Like the five hundred year old woman I met this weekend who cackled merrily when I told her she could take my Love home to play with him if she liked. She said he was too young. He’ll be blushing for a week. She also told me I could drop Marilyn off at her house, because she’d look awesome in her picture window.

Everyone loved Marilyn.

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I was so lucky to be invited to be an artist at the Harmony in Art Exhibit this weekend at the Harmony Bazaar in Lockeport, NS. My silly maché creations stood beside the beautiful artwork of photographer Kim Robertson Walker, and painters Michelle Blades and Judy Matthews. And people liked it. I was completely flattered.  I giggled profusely and shrugged a lot and tried to hide behind my Love who was acting as my groupie for the event. Everyone needs a groupie to hide behind.

Why is it so hard to accept praise, and value your own creativity? Am I the only one who suffers from this twitching-in-the-corner malady that sees an ordinarily rational woman turn into a spoonful of jelly when someone asks “How much do you want for this?”

“Oh… I dunno… it’s just a silly thing… maybe… um… five dollah?”

A beautiful retired teacher, with her sleeping grandchildren and a lovely conversation about cell phones in the classroom (don’t get me going!), gave me twenty bucks for my fishies, when I asked fifteen, and I had to restrain myself from throwing an extra one at her for free.

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“How much do you want for Marilyn? She’s marvelous!”

“Oh, um… how much do you want to give me?”

These are not the words of a savvy businesswoman. This is not the road to marketing success. I just can’t believe that people like my stuff, and are willing to pay for it.

The whole day before the Exhibit I steeled myself for rejection by rehearsing how I would answer questions like:

“This isn’t very good. Who do you think you are?”

“You’re asking $15… for this? You’ve got to be kidding.”

“All of this is made of paper. And it sucks ass. You suck ass. Go home and mow the lawn.”

Ok, so that last one isn’t a question, but that was the gist of my mental dialogue as I prepared to show my work to people who don’t love me. I am blessed with people who love me and who encourage me to make things out of paper. It’s taking those things out into the world that cripples me. In all of my nervous rehearsing, not once did I imagine what I might say if someone said “I love this, it’s fantastic! How do you do it?”

“Oh… I… um… toilet paper.”

My Love and I went to Shelburne, after we gathered my stuff from the studio in Lockeport, for lunch at the Beandock (which is marvelous! Scallop and Bacon Wrap. Best. Thing. Ever.) and as I exited the Loo… (side note: The Beandock has the smallest Loo in all of the Sanitized World. It is wee. For your wee. You need to go, just to wee in the wee-sized Wee-Wee room.) and there were two people outside who had been at the Gala. We talked about my stuff. The lady actually said:

“Hey, aren’t you that artist from the Gala?”

That artist. Guffaw! Pfffft! Me? Har har dee har har!

“Why, yes. Yes I am.”

When my Love and I left the Beandock, we were surprised to hear the pounding of feet and the yoo-hoo-ing of the man I had just chatted with.

Never before have I been chased down the road for maché. This was a new high in my career. A pinnacle, if you will.

“Can I buy the Outhouse guy? The one with the… you know…”

“The anatomically correct fisherman?”

“Yeah. We just loved that he had a… you know…”

“A penis? Oh, yeah. Everyone loves the penis.”

My Love turned several shades of red, and I bubbled over with glee as we directed the enthusiastic penis-lover to the Tides of Time, where he could purchase said Outhouse Guy…

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It just blows my mind.

I know I must not be alone in the self-conscious world of the introvert artist… wait, did I just call myself an artist? I meant a Messer-Around-With-Stuff person. Artist? Me? Pfffft…so I just want to say to you, you scaredy-cat creative types out there: Do it.

Say yes.

Say yes to the Exhibit. Say yes to the craft fair. Say yes to the offer of $20 for something you slaved over. You will feel good. Your new friend will feel good. Your art will make its way into the world and make the world a better place.

Because that’s what art does.

The five hundred year old woman didn’t actually offer me any money for Marilyn, because I couldn’t decide what to ask for her, but I loved our conversation and that moment of smiling contact with a lovely funny person who looked at me and said “Your art is good.”

I didn’t realize how good it could feel to be called an artist.

Artist?

Me?

Well… maybe…

PicMonkey Collage

3 thoughts on “Artist? Me? Pfffft…

  1. Loved, loved, loved this post. Hilarious. I am an artist too, and honestly felt exactly as you did in the beginning. In fact, I did give a second painting to a few buyers way back when. Would you mind if I reblog this post in mine? For your perusal, link to my blog: http://artist.gailingis.com/?p=5951

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