Thursday, May 15, 2008

Support, seek it and give it...

As an artist, do get support from your family and friends?

I have been thinking about this issue this week. It started when I read the comments on Marsha Robinett's latest chat line topic ( She asks readers to share when they first started calling themselves an artist. What seemed to be a key factor for people being able to own their truth about their artistic life and journey was if they received support from the people in their lives.

I do have support and I am most fortunate. My biggest supporter is my husband. He listens, he helps and he shares this journey with me. The other morning as I was walking my dog, I was pondering this idea of support and I was trying to imagine where I would be as an artist without it. became clear to me how important having this in your life is. No wonder people without it seem to struggle more - they struggle to stay motivated, they struggle to do the work. When no one else seems to care or to value what you do, it is harder to see the importance of it yourself.

So here are my thoughts and I hope this helps...first of all if you don't have support take encouragement from the fact that this adversity can actually help you become the artist you wish to be. I was up late the other night assembling kits (I was on a kit creating blitz as my stock was getting low). So there I was, in my studio at 2:30 in the morning, cutting paper, stuffing plastic sleeves with kit contents and listening to the radio. The topic being discussed on the radio was how people who achieved great success in their lives had a common denominator - they had all overcome adversity of some sort or another. So I suggest that you turn this adversity into something that fuels your drive and commitment...set your mind to be an artist no matter what others think or say.

Next, if the folks in your life don't seem to give a darn, seek support. Find other artists...join a local art club, take a workshop or class and connect up with other students, read blogs by other artists, leave comments. In my experience, artists support one other. Don't be shy, introduce yourself, talk to people, you will find kindred spirits, I promise.

Don't forget to give support. Support local artists by going to exhibitions, open studio events, visit studios on studio tours. Last weekend I attended a studio open house. Eight very talented artists who share art space in a particular building, cleaned up their studios, set up their art for us to see and invited the world in. But where was everyone? Don't just think that you go to these events to buy and if you don't intend to buy you shouldn't go. You show support just by showing up. Give encouragement. Tell them you like their work, ask questions about their process etc. I spent Sunday driving around visiting studios on a local studio tour. Like everyone, I had a long to-do list for the weekend but I decided that it was also important to support my fellow artists. Yes showing support takes effort but it is time well spent. Not only will you show support but you will also get to see lots of wonderful art and you will come away energized and motivated. And itsn't that what it is all about? If you keep yourself energized and motivated, you will keep working on your art!

Get support and give support...

Finally I would like to say a big thank you to the wonderful folks at the Kanata Art Club for such a fantastic evening last night. Thank you for inviting me to speak and thanks for being such a wonderful audience! Everyone was so nice. I had a great time. Thank you Mary for helping me set up and pack up. I really appreciate the assistance.


Paula Pertile said...

Teresa, this is a great post. Its SO important to give your support to other artists (even if you don't buy anything!)
I know I get charged up when I see new work, or a new shop, or creative endeavor by someone.
And think about how much you love it when someone gives you feedback or encouragement on your own work, like you said. Its a win-win, for sure!

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Paula...what is it about seeing new work that gets us charged up? If only we could bottle it and sell it!! I get fired up just by looking at an art magazine! Win-win, I so love that concept. Striving to achieve a win-win in all our exchanges, personal and professional is truly the best way to go.

Thanks for stopping by!