Facing Fears

(Nederlandse vertaling vind je onderaan de pagina)

Re-reading a previous post from my journal, I noticed my feelings about how I view myself as an artist have changed – again. Life is a process…

In the past, I occasionally exhibited at a group show. But I did not make a big deal of it, I did not invite my friends. I did not spend much time at the exhibition talking with visitors, I didn’t feel showing my art was that important, nor did I think my work was good enough. I was more interested in being in community with other like-minded people than being an artist in my own right. On the bright side, you might say that I focused my attention on my responsibilities as the director of an art school instead.

Looking at it from another angle, however, you might also see it as fear. That I was also letting my insecurities and my inner critique shape my actions. And that this fear stopped me from developing myself and my work. In the past year, I realized I would never feel good about my art unless I was regularly making, practicing and stand for what I create. I needed to take myself and my artwork seriously.

What caused this change in me?

It was not one thing or event. It was more like a series of prods (or nudges) over time. One came from a student who said, “Ginni, I don’t think I have ever seen your artwork.” True. I expect my students to show theirs, every month. But I stored the work that I made in boxes and drawers and rolled up in sacks. I don’t accept excuses from my students – they have to show every month what they created. So why was I accepting my own excuses?  But the real kick in the butt came after I decided to participate in the Masterjaar program at DIY Textile School, taught by Marjolein van der Stoep and Erna van Sambeek.
During our classes we discussed things like: What is textile art? What is the difference between an artist, a designer, a craftsperson? And what am I? Who gets to decide what I am? How do I want to describe myself? 

“What is an artist?” is as difficult a question as “What is art?” and “Who decides?”. I realized, whatever anybody else does or decides, it is crucial that I decide about me. So, I did. … I decided to face my fears and start creating more art. To claim my space. To develop myself, and to put my artwork out into the world.

Sharing my art

I set a one-year goal to make more art and to share it. Not only at exhibitions but on the World Wide Web, as well. I made a commitment to myself. I set time aside in my agenda to create. In so doing, I found more joy in my life, a sense of accomplishment, and a desire to make more.

I had pictures taken of my previous and latest work (thank you Hannah van Herk) and I had my website built (Thank you Tinman). I am sharing my work. I am facing my fears and I am asking for and getting feedback. It is often constructive and mostly positive.

Now, just to be clear on this: it didn’t come about without frustrations, without periods of not making due to other responsibilities. But I am proud to say, I did keep my commitment and it has made me a happier, more creative person and – dare I say it? Yes! – artist.

Now I cannot possibly be the only one here. So how about you? Do you recognize your inner critique? What fears are you not facing? What steps do you take? Í would love to hear about your journey and how you take action!

Nederlandse vertaling

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