THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I LEARNED FROM BEING A COMMERCIAL ARTIST

While I have always been a creative person and a maker, most of my artistic activities have occurred completely in secret!  Most of the art I have made over the years was made in the privacy of my own home, never talked about, and certainly not shown to anyone, especially not before it was finished.  I was deeply attached to whatever I was making, and looking back, I guess I was afraid that whatever judgement I received would reflect on me as a person.  As in, if someone didn't like my art, it meant that they didn't like me.  It sounds a little crazy, right?!  But this is a legitimate thing among SO MANY creative people- one of the most common issues that I hear about over and over again is fear of judgement and lack of creative confidence due to said fear.  What if they don't like my stuff?  What if they don't like me? (Who is this "they", anyway?  I'm still trying to figure that out...)

When we send something we've created out into the world, we feel vulnerable.  Especially if we are greatly attached to our work and view it as an extension of ourselves.  It took me YEARS to be comfortable with even putting my designs online, or showing friends or family (oh, the horror) what I have made.  I want to share with you the greatest lesson I have learned while working as a full-time sign artist for a major company (my non-internet real life job), that has helped me immensely in my personal artistic endeavors and creative life.

I learned how to LET GO and MOVE ON.

Let me explain... When I began working as a commercial sign artist, I had to learn how to operate under deadlines and become comfortable with creating work in the presence of other people.  While under deadline or working through a to-do list that's a mile long, I have learned to be okay with sending work out that isn't my best.  Not every piece of work is going to be the best thing I've ever made, and that's perfectly okay.  Because I am always on deadline and always have a list of work that needs to be done, once the finished project is out for the world to see, it's already out of my mind and I'm focused on the next project at hand.  Deadlines mean that you have no choice but to put your work out there.  It's going out and everyone is going to see it- I don't have any choice!  By the time any comments get back to me about something, that particular piece of work has almost been completely forgotten about, and the comments I get are almost always positive!

This "Let Go and Move On" mantra has helped me SO MUCH in my personal creative journey.  I am no longer obsessed with getting everything "right", I am significantly less attached to my work than ever, I no longer feel upset with any less-than-successful experiments in art and business, and I have realized that whatever feedback I receive is not a reflection of my character or my legitimacy as an artist (and once again, the feedback I receive is almost always positive- even on my least favorite work!). 

If you are struggling with sharing your art or other endeavors, my advice is to rip off the bandage and just start putting your work out there.  The more you do it, the less scary it gets.  The more you do it, the less concerned you'll be about what other people think of it.  The more you do it, the less attached you'll become and you'll no longer feel such a strong correlation between the success of your artistic endeavors and you as a person.  The more you do it, the more you will realize that your work is something you create, but it's not actually you

Let it go and move on so you can keep growing as a creative person, make more art, and continue along your path to creative confidence!  Any more words of advice?  What has helped you come out of your creative shell? 

 

 

 

MY FIVE FAVORITE PODCASTS FOR CREATIVE LIFE AND BUSINESS

As always, I'm late to the party...I just discovered my love of podcasts THIS YEAR.  I listen in the car, while I'm working at my computer, while I'm doing chores...  I subscribe to a lot of podcasts- some for fun, some for learning, some for a real good laugh.  The most valuable podcasts I subscribe to are the ones about creative people and business.  I have learned SO MUCH from podcasts.  Here are my five favorite podcasts about creative life and business that I regularly binge on (in no particular order):

1. Being Boss

Being Boss with Emily Thompson of Indie Shopography and Kathleen Shannon of Braid Creative is a podcast for creative entrepreneurs.  It's a fun mix of business coaching, a bit of spiritual "woo-woo" stuff and personal development, and interviews with other folks who make a living from their creative endeavors.  This podcast is a must-listen for all levels of creative entrepreneurship, whether you're just curious or already own your own business.

2. Raise Your Hand Say Yes

Raise Your Hand Say Yes with Tiffany Han, a creative brand strategist, is about extraordinary people and their creative adventures in life and business.  Tiffany is smart, genuine and full of truth (no sugar coating here).  There is so much authenticity in this podcast (from the host and the guests), and I always feel refreshed after listening!

3. #GirlBoss Radio

#GirlBoss Radio is the podcast by Sophia Amoruso, founder of NastyGal.com.  (You've probably heard of her best-selling book, #GirlBoss!)  Sophia interviews other prolific boss ladies about the path that lead them to where they are today and what they've learned along the way.  Even if you're not into business, this is an inspiring podcast for EVERYONE (especially women)!

4. The Unmistakable Creative

The Unmistakable Creative with Srini Rao is, simply put, a masterpiece.  Srini candidly interviews creative individuals and those that have refused to accept the status quo- like artists, researchers, psychologists, entrepreneurs, and even FBI hostage negotiators.  If you are interested in personal development and want to seek out a higher meaning in your life and career, this is the podcast for you. 

5.  Design Matters

Design Matters with Debbie Millman has been around for over TEN YEARS!  It's the world's first podcast dedicated to design and creative culture- the archives are full of interviews with artists, designers, writers, musicians, and beyond.  I love hearing about the life and work of other creative people!

 

Are you obsessed with podcasts too?  Or you'd like to be?  What are you listening to right now?  Do you have any favorites that I should check out?  I'm always looking for more listening material!