Earlier this month I was asked why I didn’t speak about my artwork in the same way I speak about the fabulous, empowering and mind altering Upfront course I took part in last year. I couldn’t answer the question at the time but it came to me the next day.
Thus far my art work hasn't been life changing, making work doesn't feel like taking action in my career. I make my work, it goes to a group show, it comes back, it sits in my house ‘til the next one; I have a solo show, it’s exhibited for a couple of weeks, it comes down and heads back to the studio to be stored in bubble wrap or back to my living room shelf. Rarely have these opportunities led to anything big and exciting. If you’ve read my previous post How Very Dare I. Part 2 you’ll know that Upfront has been a major player with big shifts in my thinking; how I interact with social media; starting a blog; taking part in a study on women and apologies; generating exciting future adventure plans. I’ve just been doing the fucking thing all over the place. Because of the women of Upfront I had the tools to create a shiny new bio which I shared on my Creative Entrepreneurs Club profile page. Two days later I received this message from the founder Medeia Cohan…
Jill you sound amazing. If you ever want to share your knowledge about living your best freelance through and article or workshop or something else here, lemme know. I think you probably have a lot of experience worth capturing.
Since then we’ve met for a zoom chat and I've officially been asked to write a series of articles on self employment. Most importantly this is a paid gig! And the opportunities keep on rolling, last week I was offered the opportunity to take part in a business accelerator through Inspiration Space after attending an Upfront talk and Q&A with the founder Liana Fricker. This is why I talk about Upfront the way I do, it has opened doors I didn’t know were there. This is what I always imagined for myself - a shit load of great big amazing opportunities that I’d never imagined.
So what about my poor artwork sitting away in my studio or on my living room shelf? I really do love my work, the reason I don’t express this love in the same way is because it feels too much like loving myself, which every Brit will know is just not done. Talking about the deep feelings for my work expresses more vulnerability than I'm comfortable with. My work is not funny, it’s full to the brim with the emotions I push down to function on a daily basis; it is part of me, like a limb. It feels safe for people to look at my work, they will draw their own conclusions and I never have to speak about it. To admit I love it is to acknowledge that I love myself and feel caring and sympathy for the person who went through those experiences.
My artwork has allowed me to work through personal traumas and has helped my mental health immeasurably but it has not sustained me financially. This is why I don’t talk about my art the same way I talk about Upfront but perhaps it's time I did.