The Relevant Audience

Every day, I spend a few hours (usually 3) down at a local cafe, sketching, socialising, being in the world. It serves a number of purposes - keeps me in touch, gets me out of the studio atmosphere and outside, and lets people see what it is that I do.

One of the biggest factors in being any kind of artist is that you're putting yourself out there, in the public view, and the public are going to have their opinion. Now, I learned a long time ago that people who don't like your work aren't your audience... if no one likes your work, then you don't have an audience, and you had better try something new...

However, people are strange, when you're a stranger, and even though I moved to this small town a couple of years back, I don't have the kind of personal history here that the locals have. So they don't know me, they don't know where I've come from - all they see is this woman sitting in a cafe, drawing.
Here's the interesting bit..... and this is where you have to learn to listen. People will always have something to say about the work, affirmative or negative. And then they have something personal to say about you, about the way you dress, or how easy your life must be to do nothing but draw all day, about your hair, your height, your choice of beverage.... There are people in the world who will genuinely like your art, but want to insult you because they can't do what you do, or you're not doing what they think you should do.

( I once had a fella come up to me and tell me that I wasn't an artist because I didn't paint pictures of cows on china teacups. True story - for him, it was the only art that counted. )

From this, you only need take with you what they say about the art.... it's the only feedback that counts, because the insults aren't about you, they're about them. Success is the best revenge - stay focused, forget the reflected inadequacies of others, and stay true to what you want to achieve.
Any kind of artist, painter, musician, actor, filmmaker, creative thinker, has to have the courage to stand up and prepare to be judged. Just make sure you only listen to those qualified to judge, and those who are relevant to your chosen outcome. Because the whole world will not be your loving, supporting audience. Accept that, because everyone has a price to pay for who they are.
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