Thursday, January 23, 2014

Morning Coffee, Goldfish, & a Friend

Creative people stick together a lot.

Years ago, a guy I was dating asked me why that was. Why, he wanted to know, did artists "hang out with other artists who also don't live in the real world?"

That moment was the first time I ever bluntly told someone to f*** off. But once I was done telling him what he could do with that notion that there is a "real world" and that I didn't live there, I answered the other part of that question.

First, it isn't because (as my ex assumed) we don't value the opinions of people who are educated in things other than art. That's most of our audience and market! We want to hear from them.

But they can only tell us so much. If I take my car to the mechanic, I can tell him it isn't running right, that it's making a weird noise, but I might not have the faintest clue what the problem really is.

An average person might see a painting of mine and know that something looks weird. Another artist could immediately say, "Oh, you've got the proportions wrong on the upper arms," or, "The shadow on the face doesn't match the one on the body, so your directional lighting is borked." (We artistes use lots of highbrow technical jargon such as "borked"). Another artist can also tell you what's right, and that it's done, stop messing with it before you kill it dead.

The photo above was taken a few hours ago at breakfast with one of my artist friends. We were both out of half & half for our coffee this morning, we both needed to clarify our plans about upcoming projects, and I had new goldfish art and wanted to know if it looked good to someone other than me.

So we get each other out of the house on days like these. We critique and challenge each other, keep each other focused, and often spark new ideas for each other. I don't think this is at all unique to people in creative fields -- maybe because there are few fields that don't actually need creativity. This is why we have mastermind groups, and Facebook groups, and professional associations.

It's easy to fall into being more or less a hermit, when you work on your own most of the time. It's just not a whole lot of fun for most of us to live and work that way.

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