Recently, I completed a podcast with a bunch of friends, and after the podcast we just chatted. One of them is a very keen photographer who takes stunning shots, which led us to talk about how people use social media to share creatively.
After the chat ended, I was thinking to myself how a year ago, I didn’t dare to share my work at all. I was a closeted artist. There would be a handful of people close to me who told me my artwork had potential (when I first started out), but I didn’t have that faith in myself. Subconsciously, I was comparing my art skills to those who have been refining their craft for years. I felt small.
Being a closeted artist really sucked, a lot. I enjoyed creating so much but often I had nobody to share it with. I actually had every avenue available for me to share my artwork, but it was my own limiting beliefs that held me back.
Creativity often equates to vulnerability. Whether or not you express yourself through artwork, music, dance… you’re revealing a part of yourself to your audience. Not every piece you produce has to hold some kind of profound meaning within it, but it often reflects your thoughts or moods in a subtle way. I’ve noticed shifts in my colour palette based solely on how I’m feeling, for instance.
I think it is the fear of being vulnerable that makes it so hard to share creative works. It’s why sometimes we tend to take negative criticism to heart, and we forget that creative works are subjective in their own right – you can never control how someone else perceives your art.
In literature, there’s a concept known as ‘Death of the Author’. I take a creative writing class, and during class we have workshops. Each person passes their written work around the class. After it’s read out, everybody is free to critique the work in their own constructive ways. This article describes the concept perfectly.
Any text, once written, has little to do with the author. The reader can put any interpretation on it that the author did not intend.
The task of the reader is not to decipher, but to enjoy and find one’s own meaning.
‘Death of the Author’ was something I found to be extremely freeing. The reader doesn’t decipher, but instead, they enjoy and find their own meaning. Once your work leaves your hands, you can’t treat it as yours… in a way. It’s free to go, and whatever follows after it shall follow.
Realising this diminished my fear of sharing. I was afraid that someone I knew may stumble across mellowpaints, and that would be that. Would they like my work? Would they think I’m wasting my time? Would they criticise me? All these questions came from a stunted mindset and creative insecurities.
It takes time to get comfortable with sharing. It takes even more time to equate sharing to being vulnerable. Let your work take flight and reduce your worries. Your work is usually better than you think it is.
Did this post resonate with you? Feel free to let me know.