As I sit here trying to write this blog, I’d just like you to know I have wasted quite a bit of time procrastinating and I really should be cooking dinner right now. And that is basically the theme of this post. We only see the tip of the iceberg. You will only read the blog and hopefully like it, not knowing that I am sitting here in the most unflattering sweat pants and a worn-out shirt that I didn’t bother to change out of this morning because if I am at home, then I believe in spending the day in my PJs. I am not sitting at some aesthetically pleasing desk on a fancy laptop. I am sprawled on my little sofa covered in sesame seed brittle crumbs and surrounded by their wrappers. I am also talking to my cat because he agrees with most of what I have to say and contrary to popular belief cats really are non-judgmental. The point is, that stuff you see posted on Social Media is just the nice stuff. The painting I sold, the mural I completed, the workshop I conducted. The smile on my face. But I like being honest, and that is not even half of the story. The truth is I have dozens of rejection letters for every project I did get, and poured blood, sweat, and tears into every painting I made-not all of them sell. As an introvert, I have had to battle with myself to overcome my dread of talking to people even if I know them, I never know what to say, I never quite fit it. I’m blunt and don’t have the tact of a politician, so I will say something that maybe I shouldn’t have-and often do. Don’t even get me started on how hard it is to introduce myself to new people. But I do all this and eventually, over time, it pays off. But it doesn’t happen overnight, no one hands it to you on a silver platter. You have to put it in the time, effort, have thick skin, fall, get up and dust yourself off, wipe your tears, suppress your ego, your anger, your frustration. You have to suck it up.
I felt the need to say all this because I have been getting questions from many artists just starting out. The answer to many of your questions is above. There is no overnight magic. The tip of the iceberg is what you see on social media, the truth is there are tonnes of ice below the surface that I built up over the past years to get that little bit above the water. I have practiced, I have pursued learning, I have done endless amounts of research and reading. I have put in ridiculous amounts of time looking for opportunities and spent equal amounts of time writing up proposals, artist statements, artist bios, and taking and editing pictures of my work. I have saved up to invest money towards art supplies, entering exhibitions and applying for memberships. Half of which replied with polite but ice-cold “no thank yous”.
If I stop and the ice below melts away eventually the tip of the iceberg will disappear as well. You don’t really stop, you have to keep working at it. So if this is your passion be prepared for hard work and failure (or as I like to think of it “lessons on what not to do next time”) for as long as you want to continue on this journey. It is a long ride, but I don’t plan to get off this train. I’m having too much fun.