It is interesting that two of the blogs I follow have discussed the concept that even when you are doing good work and it is the work that you are meant to do, there will always be people who won’t get it. As if I hadn’t experienced that enough in my life…..I got to experience it again to really drive home this concept.
I am a Contemporary Narrative Collage Artist. I work in oil paint, acrylic, water media, photography, printmaking, drawing, collage, colored pencils, crayons, paper making, marbleizing paper, etc. My work has evolved over the years and is changing all the time. Currently I am exploring the construction and creation of boxes.
Last February I needed a very small box to put a gift in. I couldn’t find anything that worked, so I decided to make a box myself. Once I started the process it couldn’t be just any kind of box……..it had to be a box that my friend would want to display. I spent two months figuring out how to make that first box. Measuring and cutting. Measuring again and cutting again. Challenges with adhesives. Sewing on accoutrements verses gluing. Finally I completed a box worthy of the gift and my friend.
I find things to create my artwork in Art Supply Stores, Hardware Stores, Craft Stores, Fabric Stores, and sometimes I just pick stuff up off the ground. There are some stores that the sales associates are friendly and helpful even if they don’t understand or care what you do. But there is always that person who gives you the look (you know the one I am talking about) and is condescending. They act like your work isn’t real and has no value.
Recently I was in a craft/fabric store. Generally when I shop at this particular store the sales associates are friendly, polite, helpful and will leave you alone if that is what you desire. So I was shopping for a variety of materials: paper, chip board, embroidery floss, buttons, ribbon, rick rack, and sticks for my glue gun. I bring my basket to the register and a person I have not seen before is at the counter. She comments on the odd collection of materials I am purchasing. I state that I am an artist and that I make boxes. She made the face (the one we talked about before) and said “You make boxes!?!” I proceeded to show her pictures of my work that I had on my phone. She raised one of her eyebrows and said “Oh.”
Not everyone is going to get what you do (even after you show them).
One could take this experience personally. Have it affect the way they create in the future. I am telling you right now that if you don’t have people giving you the look and not getting what you do you are not doing the right creative work. Keep creating. Your work is real and it has value. Create in order that you might get the look.