Stay true to your work despite criticism.

If you've ever clicked on our home page we state the following:

FACT: You are the only person in your world who does what you do in your unique way.

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We truly believe in that statement.

During meetings with a recent 1:1 DELVE Toolkit client, when talking about why she has trouble talking about her art work in an effective way, she opened up and told us that she can feel extremely swayed and distracted by comments about her work. A gallery owner or fellow artist would make an off-hand comment, and it would confuse her and make her feel insecure. Why weren't the choices she was making valid?

She couldn't remember the good things they had to say about her work because she was focused on the negative aspect, the part that made her feel uncomfortable. We can venture to say that most of us have done that over and over again when in conversation about something that is extremely important to us: our work.

Staying true to her work was difficult because she, at that point, could not achieve clarity in communicating her work in person or in writing. She couldn't walk into a room and state exactly what kind of artist she is since she worked in different mediums and was coming back to a serious art practice after some time away from it due to life circumstances. Throughout the first four weeks of the DELVE Toolkit, she got a true sense of how to speak and write about her work in an effective way. It gave her confidence and motivation.

This is how she achieved clarity in writing and talking about her work:

  • Through a series of questions via the 1:1 DELVE Toolkit, we took a deep dive into her process, history as an artist, what motivates and inspires her work and why she makes it. Like most artists, her work comes from a very personal place but didn't feel comfortable sharing every nitty gritty detail. She didn't have to. The key to getting the best artist statement and verbal pitch is to get every detail out, write it all out, then pare it back from there. We achieved that.
  • It turns out that she has a lot of trouble writing and found it easier to have a friend ask her the questions, and she recorded her verbal answers, then transcribed them.
  • She found two other artists whose work she admired and whose work resonated with hers and read everything they write and has been written about them.
  • Over again, we practiced answering the question: what kind of work do you make?

When you put yourself and your work out there, you are opening yourself up to comments and criticism. Stick to your unique vision and decisions. Make the mistakes that you will make. Because that vision and those mistakes are what will make the best work.

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