I was the featured Artist at the Artitudes gallery in Havre, Montana. My show was entitled “Out of the Box” and featured my collages and boxes. The Opening Reception was Friday, October 9th, 2015. I had a lot of fun talking to people about creativity, art in general, my artwork and sharing stories about the pieces. The building that the gallery is in has many delightful shops and restaurants. (The bookstore “Havre Book Exchange” has a good selection of new and used titles and has a section highlighting local authors. The bakery “Grateful Bread” makes a wonderful chicken salad sandwich.) The gallery is a cooperative showing the work of the artist/members. The other artists welcomed me and shared their wonderful exhibition space. There was a band (Thorns Among the Roses) playing lively music, good food to eat and wonderful conversation. Yes, I am shamelessly promoting my artwork but I also have point to make. Artists and Creators in every medium need to share their creative offerings or “show their work.”
One of the most challenging aspects of being an Artist/Creative is showing your work. Artists generally work for long periods of time in isolation in order to “do the work.” These periods of isolation followed by public self display can intensify feelings of rejection. It is scary performing, showing and sharing your work. It is not uncommon for an artist to be unable to talk about their work because of this fear of rejection.
While teaching creativity classes or doing creative coaching, one of the things that I often hear from blocked creatives’ is that they do not want to show their work……that they are making work for themselves. Yes, the first and foremost reason to do the work is for yourself. You have an idea, concept, vision, song, etc. that you want to explore, put on paper, capture with your camera, record, etc. I understand. I feel that creative compulsion myself. But at some point, I also need to show/share my fabulous idea/vision with others. From conversations with other creative individuals, I know that I am not alone in this.
Sometimes we just have to set that goal and then do the work to get to the goal. Eric Maisel, an Author and Creativity Coach calls this Honoring the Process. “Honoring the process means picturing your goal, understanding what gets you from here to it, and tackling those tasks.” For me, the goal is to show my work. So I apply for exhibitions and create artwork with the knowledge that the pieces will be exhibited. If someone sees something that they want for their walls, and they are willing to exchange money for my creative labors, then that is even better. A friend of mine is a musician. The goal for him is to play “gigs.” And if someone hears his music and buys his CD so they can listen to his songs again and again, then that is even better.
Yes, we do the creative work because we are compelled to do so. Yes, it is scary to share that work. By choosing the Creative Life, you have chosen to live, to risk, and to share. As Stephen Pressfield says in his book “The War of Art,”
“It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.
Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”
Do the work! Share your work! Show your work! I know that there is amazing work inside of you waiting to get out and be shared. Give us what you’ve got!!!