Who am I to Think I’m an Artist?

Casual head shot of Nancy Smeltzer

Nancy Smeltzer, MFA

I just recently had another birthday, and decided to reflect on the fact that one of the ways that I define myself is an artist. This idea was brought home to me that I haven’t always felt this way by a posting on an arts group to which I belong. A young woman, new to her craft, was brave enough to ask if anybody else in the group was scared to post their art work to the rest of the member son this private site. Everybody commended her bravery and encouraged her to “go for it”.

I so remember when I used to feel that way, too. There was the fear of being seen, “O-O-O-h! Everybody’s looking at me!”, but then that’s what being a visual artist is about….the dance between having people look at your work and as an extensions, look at you. For me, there was the fear of being perceived as being pretentitious, like who does she think she is, calling herself an artist? There was the fear of not being accepted into a show or a gallery, in that I’ve spent all of this time making this piece and nobody likes it.

Fortunately, after doing this for 30 years, you realize that the rejections are often not about you. Maybe, it’s late in the afternoon, and the jury already has 5 other yellow pieces chosen. Oftentimes, my work is considered “too pretty” for some “serious” shows, so I’ve learned to read between the lines, much like choosing a vacation get-away and learning what an “ocean view” can mean, so that I don’t submit to those shows. Style change, so what was popular last year may not be this year, so what’s your market? If you’re after the home décor crowd, then you had better be up on this year’s colors and styles. If you’re creating to please yourself, then it’s a matter of finding your market, and with the Net, that’s so-o-o much easier than it was when I first started.

So for myself, I stuck my flag in the shifting sands of public scrutiny long ago, and wear the mantle of artist proudly. This is who I am and this is what my work looks like. Besides, I can get away with a lot of fun stuff that regular people would never allow themselves to take on by being an artist, so “Happy Birthday” to me and the quirkiness I revel in.

To find out how I also define myself, a spiritual intuitive and healer, please check out my other blog at… http://www.transitionportals.com

 Are you comfortable describing yourself as an artist, or do you hide the fact from your friends and colleagues? At what point will you feel like it’s safe to come out and declare yourself an artist?

Why not leave a comment as to your thoughts on this posting. Please take a minute, fill out the form below or by clicking on the “comments/no comments link” at the top of the posting, and then share your ideas with the rest of us. We all grow when we share our thoughts and impressions, so why not join our growing community of those who appreciate art quilts and textile arts. We’d love to hear from you!… and PLEASE tell like minded souls about this blog! The more readers and contributors, the more I write.

You can see more of my art work on my web site at www.fiberfantasies.com (be patient as it loads; it’s worth it), my healing work at www.hearthealing.net and can find me on Google + , Facebook (for Transition Portals) Facebook (for Fiber Fantasies),  and Twitter.

To find out how to buy my art work, please check out “How to Buy my Art Work” in the “Pages” section to the right of this blog.

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