...serenity in motion
Back to a memory of my mother. She slammed into the house one evening and yelled, "I will be so damned good, they won't be able to ignore me!" It took her a lot of hard work and focus but by Damn! People stopped ignoring her. The accolades and awards that cover her office walls aren't a patch on what covered her studio walls. Now, don't get me wrong; she worked hard for it but she had confidence.
Here we are, several years later and I am working on my career. I work with tons of professionals and "not so" professionals, and the ones that are making some sort of living at it have confidence. Remember last week when I was writing about the difference between calling yourself a vendor or artist? If you are confident, you really don't need to worry about the difference. You know that your hard work and efforts have polished your technique and there are people who look for your art.
What about those who are just getting started and aren't very sure of themselves yet? Bullshit and bravado. I worked in the beauty industry for several years and I remember the saying, "Fake it till you make it." No one stays with a hairdresser who says," Ohh..... I don't know if I can do that. That is a hard cut, or I might burn your hair bleaching it." If you are a person trying to sell your art, a gallery owner isn't going to invest in you if you wander in and say, "I don't know if I am any good at this. What do you think?" Most of the time it has nothing to do with how good your art is, if you don't put forth the confidence to do it, you might not have the tenacity to get them the work they need if they sell it. Galleries and show promoters need to believe that you know what you are doing and will get it done. A wishy-washy, soggy personality doesn't give them confidence in you.
What about being modest? Self-deprecation or belittling yourself in front of others isn't going to inspire confidence in you either. Practice the art of saying "Thank You" and move on with the job in front of you. You don't want to undervalue your self or your efforts when you are with people who are investing in you. That goes for Gallery reps or even collectors. Being modest is about confidence without bragging. Tell a story about what happened when you found that reference material, make them laugh but never, ever put down your work. We aren't southern women talking about, That ole' thing; this is our work and we have put in the time to create it. If you are proud of it, be proud. If someone doesn't agree with you, so? Praise them for having the confidence to know what they like or do not. Taste in art is a very personal thing and many people are afraid of being judged for their likes or dislikes. No one wants to look stupid and when deciding if you like or dislike something, you are putting yourself out there to be scrutinized.
Here is the thing, some people think confidence is arrogance. Arrogance is an attitude of superiority manifesting in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims. You are confident if you are kind and polite, arrogant if you put other's efforts down. It is all about manners, be kind and non-judgmental and if you say you can do it, you had better get it done. So when someone walks into a room with an air of confidence, wait and see if they are a jerk or can do what they say. For the rest of us, Fake it! Hold your head up, say thank you and what else do you need from me. Be proud of your efforts and grateful to the gallery personnel and show promoters, but never ever say, "I don't know why you picked me, I'm not worth it." Say thank you and get the hell out of their way. It is your job to be the talent, it is okay to be that way and if you are scared........ Bullshit and Bravado have gotten me some amazing places, wanna come too?