let’s face it. we all need some recognition. some acknowledgment that the work we do is good, has value, is unique and special. while we should cultivate other motivators for our daily commitment to creative work, the praise of others holds a critical place in our palette of battery chargers.
how do we best channel these periodic, happy points in our work when the public is aware of us and celebrating us? clearly – the ego is boosted. Of course, if we get a swelled head, become more involved in thoughts of our standing in the arts community, of our prospects now for fame, glory and riches – if we become more involved in these thoughts than in our creative thoughts, we have probably mostly squandered the recognition. If on the other hand, we cultivate a sense of gratitude for this periodic validation of our process, we are strengthened to continue, to face the inevitable and often drawn out periods of loneliness, isolation, walking in the darkness, that accompany many points in the creative cycle.
but there is also an active element, a positive response we can invest in, with respect to positive feedback. think about the individual who offers positive feedback as your satisfied customer. after all – you are not, or should not, be creating completely in a vacuum. your hope is to share, in whatever medium you work, aspects of our human experience, or our experience of nature, or spirituality.
so if your “customer” is responding to some particular kind of presentation, or some particular concept or image, perhaps you might continue to focus and refine that particular presentation, or concept, or image, not only because there is an apparent market, but because you have stumbled into an area of your work which is truly serving folks, filling some need in them. you have an opportunity to give, to sacrifice a bit – it’s good for the soul. it’s good for taking a body out of the “me” for a while – being busy satisfying a customer. And ironically, you may discover that being somewhat concerned, now and then, with satisfying a customer, will draw the best out of you, will propel your work forward.
our dear Composer of Music for Art recently enjoyed some satisfaction from external recognition in connection with a commision to write audio for 10 Space Art paintings which she now features on her website. Writing the audio specifically for the artist’s space art is by request of the artist. This occurrence of a limitation actually helped our Lady focus in her work. She was forced, by definition, to consider a narrower menu of creative options. When pairing her “space” audio with the artist’s paintings, she was cognizant that her “customer” would need to buy in to her choices and she was forced to ask all the obvious, but important questions. Does this pairing really have strong impact? Will the overall set of 10 choices properly complement one another, to the best interest of the commissioning artist?
The artist wrestles with the notion of satisfying external customers and respecting her own process, which is meant to lead to creations of the new – and the “new” is oftimes feared and oftimes, at least initially, rejected.
Show interest and gratitude when the public nods their approval. Give something back – then throw them your next curveball!