…but be cautious what you share.
Passion is so important when it comes to making art. Passion catapults us forward… it generates new ideas, new jumping off points, fresh angles and joy within us! Passion is contagious: it heightens excitement among groups of peers and followers.
What is it that ignites passion in you? Is it colour? Perhaps it is a landscape you drive through, or better yet, a drawer in your studio/workspace filled with beads and other embellishments? You know what triggers your excitement, passion, joy.
At previous Art Quilt Campus gatherings the first few days brought on ohhhs and ahhhs whenever dyed fabrics were rinsed and shown off. The excitement generated from just those few moments of sharing stoked the fires of creativity to last well beyond the week at St. Peter’s Abbey.
Igniting a feeling similar to these moments at AQC in one’s own studio, safely tucked away at home, is sometimes difficult to achieve. Unless you can stay focused on your work, add ideas on an ongoing basis (yes, use that notebook I referred to several times this week already) or stay connected with your peer group regularly we sometimes struggle to find a meaningful starting point to keep those proverbial fires of passion fanned in isolation.
Rest assured that periods of low drive are perfectly normal and should be considered as a time of “filling the well”. Don’t worry. Ideas and creative energy are always there and will burst forth when the time is right. Don’t obsess about having to create a show-worthy piece of art every day. This is simply unrealistic. An actor needs time off to regroup and internalize a new part, an engineer or economist takes holidays without the need to crunch numbers or solve structural problems. The mind needs to rest just like our bodies need rest after rigorous exercise. Embrace the down times and trust in the fact that creative ideas are bubbling deep down soon to come to the surface.
Meanwhile, some of us seem to have boundless energy and ideas and just move forward by “churning out” new work or new pieces. At this time I am injecting a word of caution: Don’t share everything you are creating for the sake of sharing. Refrain from sharing work that does not align with your style, your voice. (Yesterday’s post was all about style in case you missed it.)
Think about your artist portfolio, the vital tool when presenting your work to a gallery or to propose an exhibition. What images of your work will you include? You will select between 10 and 20 images (depending on the guidelines for submission) to present yourself and your work in the best light. Two things will happen when you overshare in your portfolio: You will come across as trying too hard and the curator will focus on your mediocre or weakest work (sorry for the mediocre…). Oversharing will detract from your strong work and will most likely result in a rejection.
When sharing work to convey your passion make sure it is your strongest work! Showcase your style and make viewers yearn for more.
To put this into a different context: If you are commissioned to deliver art to a client you will be asked to present options in a formal proposal at the start. Narrow these options down to three. Do not present all your exploratory sketches and hope that the client will be impressed by how prolific you are. Your client will be far more impressed by how organized your presentation is with fewer options. Providing three choices will make the decision making process less lengthy and without unnecessary distractions. That makes sense, correct?
So why are we prone to overshare images on social media? Why do we post progress in step-by-step photos? Is your intent to teach how you work? Or are you just filling empty space? I know I am opening up some sore points for artists and you are welcome to disagree with my point here.
Oversharing will make your work move into the background, it becomes noise and your followers will scroll by if the images are repetitive and don’t show much progress or growth. On the other hand, if you share your strongest work only you will naturally not fill the virtual space and you will ultimately train your followers to get excited about your posts and images because they see your passion presented in your work.
I will close here for today. I hope the post is providing more food for thought and move you forward in your art practice. Thanks for dropping by today to check out what I have to share. Check back tomorrow for installment 5 to commemorate Art Quilt Campus – virtual morning gathering session.
Comments and feedback are welcome below, as always.