What if you don’t get awards for your creative work? What if it isn’t even seen by others?
Are you still an artist if you are doing something else for survival?
How important is it to identify yourself as an artist – to others, and especially to yourself?
Psychologist Robert Maurer has worked with many creative people and researches the dynamics of success. He comments:
“The people who love their craft and see themselves as artists, and carry that identity through and study each day… are the people who thrive. To me, that’s the only definition of success that matters.”
“Successful people are able to sustain their identity as separate from their profession and what’s happening to them.
“That’s particularly important in the arts, where what happens to you bears only faint correlation to your talent.”
From article: The Vision Thing by Karen Kondazian.
Dr. Maurer is author of several titles including One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way and Mastering Fear.
Writer Hanna Brooks Olsen emphasizes how important it is to believe in yourself. Here is an excerpt from her article on the topic:
If you’re in the process of trying to become a working artist, is it okay to start calling yourself one?
Impostor Syndrome — the feeling that your success at various ventures is a fluke or a mistake, rather than the product of your own competence — is a real struggle for creative people.
According to studies dating back to the 1970s, up to 70% of people, at some point, feel like they are walking frauds within their field. This could partially explain why it is, then, that when we first start out, we’re so hesitant to declare our intentions and own our titles.
Despite the fact that lots of people do work outside of their regular jobs — one in three Americans either already is or is becoming a freelancer — most still seem hesitant to say, in as many words, “I’m an artist,” or “I’m a photographer.”
Instead, it often comes out like a question.
On her blog, artist and author Lisa Congdon explores the prevalence of this hesitation to claim your title:
“I have wondered for a long time why it is so hard for artists — especially women — to own their status in the world.
“It took me years to identify confidently as an artist. Why are we so hesitant – at least until we’ve graduated from school or until we’ve ‘made it’ — to proclaim, ‘I am an artist’?”
That lack of confidence seems to be something that’s drummed into us as creative entrepreneurs; until we reach certain milestones (first gallery show, first big published piece, first novel, first whatever), we are always trying to be the thing.
We haven’t actually achieved it yet.
But if you’re taking photos, by definition, you’re a photographer. The only achievement to unlock is deciding to do the thing, and then focusing the camera and pushing the button.
Read more in Own Your Title: Why It’s Time to Call Yourself an Artist
by Hanna Brooks Olsen.
This article is from CreativeLive – an “online space where you can connect with top creative teachers and entrepreneurs LIVE.
“Learn from many free workshops in photography, video, crafting, design, business, audio, music, software training, and more.
“Sign up for a class to grow your creative life.”
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As Olsen notes, the Impostor Syndrome affects many talented and creative people.
One example: Maya Angelou once said: “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find me out.’” – From article: Getting beyond impostor feelings.
In an article of hers, art business consultant Alyson Stanfield writes she has “been surprised at how difficult it can be for artists to introduce themselves as artists…
“It seems to be easier for people with art degrees to pronounce their profession to the world. This might be because there is a piece of paper that says you completed a curriculum to the satisfaction of an institution.”
She notes, “For most people, there is no turnkey moment when they say, ‘NOW I know I’m an artist.’ It’s more of a slow, steady slog on the way to the title.
“This is why it can be difficult to introduce yourself when you are in the process of becoming. But this shouldn’t stop you from trying.”
She notes that introducing yourself as an artist can have significant professional benefits, and “Not introducing yourself as an artist results in missed opportunities.
“When you stop apologizing for your art . . . when you stop waffling on your purpose . . . others begin to view you as an artist. And even though you may not be perfectly comfortable with the title, this buy-in from others will help build your confidence.”
From post: “Introducing Yourself as an Artist,” January 15, 2014, by Alyson B. Stanfield, founder of Art Biz Coach.
She helps artists, galleries, and organizations gain more recognition, organize their businesses, and sell more art.
She is author of the book “I’d Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion” – which “offers practical advice to help you sell more art and build an art career that lasts.”
Visit her site for workshops, programs and free resources.
The photo of Stanfield leading a workshop is from my Inner Entrepreneur post Business Success for Artists – ArtBizCoach Programs.
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A final quote:
“Creative expression derives directly from the unique Self of the creator…
“I believe the whole process is accompanied by a feeling of aliveness, of power, of capability, of enormous relief and of transcendence of the limits of our own body and soul.
“The ‘unique self’ flows into the world outside. It is like giving birth.”
Annemarie Roeper [Quoted in the book The Gifted Adult by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, PsyD.]