Artists, more precisely visual artists, are a strange breed. And, Ill be honest here, I can be one of the stranger ones in the group. If it is possible to extroverted and introverted at the same time that is me and many other artists, at least the ones I have come to know. I am a total attention whore but yet I want to left alone. I can chat to anyone like I have known them forever but I rarely am the one to say something first. I am at my best alone in the window or mountains discovering new parts of my mind, thinking, plotting, some would say conspiring how to mold my world.
I have a favorite quote I came across years ago. I am a big fan of Ernest Hemingway and anybody who has seen any of my profiles or sites probably knows this quote already. I have it plastered everywhere because it really does, more than anything else, describe what drives me. I think to understand me you have to understand this quote and I don’t totally understand it myself so you can see my problem here.
“That terrible mood of depression of whether it's any good or not is what is known as The Artist's Reward.”
Any artist that is honest with themselves craves attention for their work but, at the same time, stresses themselves into fits of anxiety over whether it will be liked. I could never be a critic because I know what a bad critique can do to a person. When I paint something I do it for myself, it’s something inside me that needs to get out. I want it to be liked, loved, appreciated, but in the end I couldn’t care less what you think. See I’m a terrible liar. I paint for myself and I would never not paint something because I feared it wouldn’t be liked. But what happens is I just don’t show a lot of what I paint so that I don’t have to deal with that ‘artist’s reward’ problem.
Photography brings its own set of problems. At their essence photos need to be seen or they are just so many Kodak snapshots in a musty album in the attic. For me photography is how I see the world around me and painting is what I see we I look inside myself, the extrovert and the introvert. But in allowing the photos to be seen I invite comment, actually desire comment, because painful silence is only as good as a horrid comment. This brings a catch 22, to have them seen and invite comment or not to be seen and deep inside never know the answer.
I have two flickr accounts, one for my real life photos and one for my second life ones. For multiple reasons I don’t post my real life photos in groups unless they are invited. I don’t want the stress that I would feel when I know I had posted them all over and nobody cares. I live with a couple comments from friends and people that stumble onto them. In my real life they are more important to me anyway. My second life flickr is totally different, my photos posted far and wide. I have pics with hundreds of views and the good feeling I get from that. But I also stress over them sometimes, retaking them over and over, sometimes deleting them just after I posted them. Twice it, along with other things, drove me to take a break from second life photography. I try hard not to anguish so much over them but I fail miserably every time.
So you can see that the so-called ‘artists reward’ does exist for me. The dilemma always will be keeping in it under control because I can totally understand how some artists have gone insane over time. This self made pressure is just a demon I have to wrestle with from time to time and hope I never fail in the end.
The Parlotones - Life Design