Recently I changed my Facebook profile picture to a rather striking image of me in an amazing vintage dress taken by a very talented photographer friend of mine. I don’t believe I put it up out of vanity but because I thought people would like it, which they did. Based on this response, I then made a joke that perhaps I should dress like this in the gallery and more people might come see my exhibition. Hilarious aren’t I? Anyway there were two interesting comments in response that I felt were worth sharing.
First up, was my wise and awesome mother-in-law with the following:
“Amy, Courage, stamina, a vision to share, stick-to-it-ness, playfulness, and a generous, wholehearted compassion and understanding for all of life will ease an artist through the stark reality of exhibition of their art.”
At a quick first glance I thought she was listing my good qualities to bolster me up, but on closer inspection I saw some damn fine wisdom, and something solid to heed and aspire to as an artist. I don’t call her ‘Mother Mary’ for nothing! She is the best.
& Second was:
“Remember who you are doing your art for- first and foremost- you do it for yourself”
Now this is something I consider a lot- Why do I pursue a creative life? Obviously I am incredibly inspired and nourished by my creative work (and recognise my extreme privilege in this) but I also very much make it for others to enjoy and engage with in public showings of one kind or another. When I raised this issue in an arts forum recently the complexity of the creative life was explored a bit, but a strong response did seem to be that people make art for themselves because it makes them feel good, or because they are driven to, and that the other side of engagement is secondary.
Sometimes making art makes me feel amazing, rising above the mundane, losing myself to inspired moments, and making new connections with ideas, people and forms of expression. But a significant amount of time is also spent with uncertainty, sleeplessness, disappointment, and worry.
Perhaps the reality is that all lives feature these ups and downs, not only artistic ones. Anywho, it is an issue of deep interest to me and would love to hear any other wise thoughts on the matter!
P.S- they really are stunning dresses and their owner Dorothy Nicol is the sweetest woman in the world- you can check them out here
P.PS- despite my jokes and grumbling, so many lovely people (friends new and old) have visited me and explored ‘The Space Between’ and I have had the opportunity to delve into and spend time with a theme very close to my heart, and all this makes me very happy!