A story of seriousness

The other day, one of my quotes was featured on Art Biz Blog, a blog about well, art business. The question was about how to get others to take you and your art work seriously.

Getting others to take you and your work seriously is an interesting situation for a lot of artists. Many of us have friends and family who support our "hobby", but never really think of it as more than that. Then there are the colleagues from school and/or other art related ventures who do take you seriously. And then, there are gallery and shop owners. Now this is a fun one. Some of them loooove the work the way it is. Others want you to completely change it. A few just want a little added detail here and there. Perhaps all of these situations are just what I've experienced.

One family member kept asking, years ago, what I would do after I finished my degree. Go for a teaching degree? Maybe law school! After politely responding, I finally told him "look, I'm not spending $60,000 to not use my degree. I need you to support me on this", and that worked. Another family member has always been supportive of my work, constantly encouraging me to educate myself and think about making jewelry full time instead of looking for a "back-up" career. This has always made me feel positive, inspired, and hopeful.

My friends love my work. I am constantly encouraged by them. They are my advertisers, wearing my pieces that they have received for birthdays and holidays. I have one friend in particular who I turn to in times of strife. He is the most honest, blunt friend I have, and has told me in the past when my work needed help. I have grown, and he has helped me in many ways. I always know he will be honest, and it helps that he indeed loves my work and tells me what an amazing artist I am and to not let anyone get me down. He is a rock for me. It helps that he is also an amazing film maker and designer.

Many gallery and shop owners have loved my work. But, I have been faced with those (one) who wanted me to make a lot of changes. I must acknowledge that when I approached him, I was not as solidified in my ideas and direction as I am now, and I think his reaction would be different now, but the comments that were made, and the fact that he was telling an artist how to change their work definitely made me re-think my desire to have my work in his gallery. It showed a lack of respect for my artistic integrity, and I know that I am a damn good metalsmith. Others, who carry my work and have requests for little changes are different--they are wanting little enhancements because they know what sells in their stores, and I can definitely respect that and work with them.

So, in the face of people that cannot see your art for what it is, turn to those who are supportive and encouraging. Then, really look at your work and remember what it took to get you to where you are. Remember the hurdles and struggles, and remember your skills. And then, embrace yourself and say "I am a damn good artist!" And always, always remember, that you can't please everyone (it's just like with food).



  1. This is very inspiring. It is amazing how many people try to give advice on what is or isn't a successful career choice. I've always struggled with what others think and say. I guess that's why I never went to art school after high school.

    I say just do what you love...

    Thanks for sharing this story.

  2. I've never been academic and always been impulsive and easily bored so no one thought I was ever going to be anything other then the type of work I'm in now...I guess that solved that part of the problem.

    It's great you have a friend who is supportive of you and has an artistic eye. You know he understands and will tell the truth. What an asset he is.

    It's a bit crazy to try to make big changes to an artist's work. They should either find an artist with style they like or hire a skilled person to produce their designs. One truly can't please everyone, nor is it fun. There are niches out there that need to be filled, damn it!


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