Something I have been having trouble with it trying to tell the difference between being happy making art for myself, and being happy making art for the approval of others. I am constantly reminded that the only way that I can be truly happy with the work that I do, is when I do it for myself. Sadly, I am super self-conscious. I want people to like what I make. It is like when I sit down to watch one of my favorite movies with someone who has never seen it before, and I sit there hoping they will like it so that I can validate my own taste level. I want to hear other people approve of what I have already made the decision to like.
It's not like I don't have the ability to pick out things that I like on my own. I just want to be sure that once I have made that kind of decision that other people can appreciate them the same way I do. That is why it took me so long to start producing my art to put out there for the general population to see. I have been making stuff for my family for years, and they have liked it, but that really doesn't say much, because sentiment and the fact that they cannot tell me how they really feel because they have to live with me. I have always wanted an unbiased group of people to like my work, but have also been afraid that they may not like it.
It reminds me of that moment in Back to the Future, where bot Marty and his dad have made a similar comment regarding their passion. "I just don't know if I can take that kind of rejection." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqwrUUAMrdY Marty was a musician and George was an author and it is true for me as well working as a painter and even writing here on this blog. Putting yourself out there can be scary, and make you lose sight of why you are doing this to begin with. You can become blinded to why you are doing this in the first place. When you are always worried that people aren't going to like what you are doing you forget that you are doing this because you like it not really for them. Yeah it is going to suck to. But if you give it up because people don't really appreciate what you are doing you are never going to get the practice you need to get better. Then they are never going to get the exposure to your work that they need in order to truly appreciate it.
Why was it that you picked the creative arts? What made you want to paint in the first place? Let's be honest with ourselves. It had nothing to do with what you parents wanted, or your friends were doing, or what your teachers thought. You and I picked the fine arts of one sort or another, because we just liked doing them. There is something about that world of creation that makes us happy. Yes, we want people to like them too, but like with that movie you like. It is not going to change your mind about the movie if your friend doesn't like it too. It is still going to be your favorite because somewhere in your soul it resonates with you.
I after much reluctance have put my work out there, and I have to admit to myself that I would love for people to like what it is that I do. It does stroke my ego to get the approval of people. It would give me some sense of validation to my work. But I need to always keep perspective. I don't do this for people to tell me it is good, and give me a pat on the back, or even buy my art. I do this so that I can feel the joy of a creative outlet. I do this because my soul longs to do this, to make something. I cannot lose sight of why I am making art, or it will become job, and what made it fun for me to do will be lost, and I will no longer find the joy in it that I did before. It won't be my art any more, because I will so be consumed with pleasing others that I will lose sight of what made me like it so much to begin with.