Monday, January 27, 2014

COMPARING IS DESPAIRING: A cautionary tale.

HAPPY MONDAY!!!!
Wow…..that is an oxymoron…..am I right?
And speaking of morons…….(seamless segue Rob!!)…….
I wanted to talk to you about insecurity!
Normally - I keep this blog upbeat, but stay with me for the 'happy ending' on this….
It is not a secret that last year was kind of a career low for me.

Not in the number of shows - or the amount of press - or even in the production of the work….
I am talking just about the actual dollars and cents.
I know, you are thinking…
"Rob….you are lucky to do what you LOVE everyday.....you can't expect it to be easy/lucrative!"
While I am grateful for being aware of my passion - and having the inherent craziness to do it full time…….let's be clear….it is a job!
It's not so much luck….as it is work. HARD work.
I am my accountant, my web-builder, my marketing manager, my salesperson, my administrative assistant…and I am the talent at Rob Croxford Artistic Endeavours Inc.
(and my boss can be a real B*ITCH)
Now…having said all of that, I would love to say that LUCK has nothing to do with it.
Unfortunately there is an element of 'right-time - right-place' to the art world!
Last year, the stars did not align for me in sales. Which is kinda important when you are a
FULL TIME ARTIST.
Without income, my children cannot eat……(and by children, I mean ME!)
Yes, I am fortunate that I have a VERY kind husband that believes blindly in me…but still…it really made me feel sad, and horribly insecure about my work…….
In addition to losing my confidence, I lost my studio space, and a bunch of gallery representation.
IT WAS NOT GREAT….and the result was an overwhelming feeling of FAILURE.
Truthfully - I have NEVER been insecure about my paintings.
NEVER.
But having limited success made me feel like people did not like my artwork!!
Artists are NOTORIOUS for feeling insecure about our art - and then comparing our success to our peers! The "why not me" complex is EASY to get!!!
It made me question how to go forward making art…..which is a bit debilitating to the creative process.
I thought the time had come…..that I should finally take the advice of all the galleries that told me that I needed to just paint landscapes, and cut out the wording and the politics. Essentially cutting the 'me' out of my work. The idea was that if I completely 'dumbed down' the work, that I could start selling again.

When I realized that I cared more about other people's opinions, I realized that I needed to step back and take stock of things!!!
I am now realizing with the help of my team of professional care-givers and electro-shock therapist, that insecurity is not productive…in fact it is COMPLETELY self-defeating!
And I think I have realized, that what makes my work 'good' is the fact that it is cheeky, and playful and as such I NEED to stay the course! I will try some new things - in art and business…..
But Willy Shakespeare said it best…….
"To thine own self be true, yo!"
Now let's fast forward to the good news…….this week one of the galleries that I thought had "dumped me" sold 2 MAJOR pieces! And I have sold a bunch of prints from my show at the JCC!
For the first time in a YEAR I feel like I am gaining a little momentum again!!
I am THRILLED that these older - but FANTASTIC pieces just sold…..



YAY ME!
Ok…so what am I sharing so MUCH today?
Not to brag. NOT AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here is what I want you to take away from this:

1) Artists - stay the course. Believe in your passion -- even when the odds are against you! You will be
    tested!!!! Weather the storm and keep moving forward

2) Artists - take stock - be able to look objectively at your work/habits and see what is working/not
    working! - do what you can...so that you can do what you love!
    MAYBE THAT IS GOOD ADVICE FOR EVERYONE!!!??

3) Everyone else -the biggest moral of my tale is that you MUST run your own race
    - do NOT waste your time in comparing. Comparing is despairing!

So there you go!
I hope you can take something away from my story.
The thing is, the ending of my story is still unwritten. Yup….that is SCARY, but I feel excited again about the future! I guess that means my old confidence is returning!
HUZZAH!

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