Blog: Value Yourself
Posted on October 13 2020
During a studio tour I had a customer assume that art supply companies give me all my supplies for free. I told her, as tempting as that would be, I have always invested in my own supplies – I would never take a sponsorship for free supplies. She asked why? I said, if I took free supplies it would obligate me to someone, it would compromise my freedom and the freedom of the artwork I create. She looked at me, thought about what I said, and replied, “Amazing – I never looked at it that way.”
It is hard to be free – but freedom has value. As an artist I work hard to find freedom every day. I believe if you really believe in yourself, you need to embrace your uniqueness and create art that comes from your soul. Art should never be made to conform to someone else’s expectations. It should never be made to match someone else’s throw pillows. To me, matchy-matchy wall décor is not “real art”.
In the past I was part of that matchy-matchy wall décor world. I know how an artist can be influenced by group think, how it feels to lose yourself, your soul, your uniqueness as you create something marketable, as you create based on what sells. I walked away from that world, a world where I could barely keep up with the demand for my work – a world that many artists strive for, and consider success. I swore I would never do it again.
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My history made the idea of selling art online something I resisted for a long time. I saw the world changing, and I knew I needed to be a part of it – but it took a long time for me embrace that change. When I finally made the leap, I did so with my experience as part of my history. I did so determined I would not give up what I value.
I had to remind myself that earning money for what you do is not a bad thing. Some of the most successful artists in history set the stage for me. Not only were they paid for their work, their creations defied the expectations of the day.
Rembrandt, Botticelli, The Impressionists, Picasso, Warhol – all found their individuality, all defied the influence and expectations of others, and all made a living as artists. Some of the greats did it, why not me? When I finally made the leap to selling online, I did so determined I would do so and still seek freedom, individuality, and uniqueness in my creativity. I would not give up what I value.
I continue to create. I sell my art online. I fight to protect myself, my soul and my freedom. I have faith that there are others like me who value these things and will support “real art”. Not everyone is looking for art to match their sofa, and so I embrace the new normal.
Not only have I changed with the times, I have embraced the new opportunities they bring. I am thriving online, where I can connect, teach, and share my unique thoughts with others. In this new world I can show how “real art” has value, and exemplify how difference is worth the price.
I am an artist, striving to be, striving to remain free. In this new online world, I will build upon my history, I will change with the times, and I will thrive.