Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How to Care For Your Artist

There are a lot of posts out there that talk about the Arts and Artists--but very few of them address what it means to live with one, be with one or want to support one. And so, I took a moment and put together a list of things that I think can be helpful and good-to-know when dealing with an Artist in the Home or in their natural habitat, the Studio:

Listen to them
If they have a project idea, they will probably need to talk it through. It might be really manic, ranging from ‘this is the coolest idea ever” to “but it’ll never work because I suck” all in one session. Don’t try to fix it, dear listener, just listen and keep on listening. If they ask for your input, try to offer something. Please don’t give in to the “I’m not creative so I have nothing to offer” You sell yourself and your ideas short and you’re making a huge assumption. Sometimes artists need to hear a “non-artist” perspective on something so they can check it against their own ideas and concepts. It’s important.
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Showing their sketches is really scary
There’s a misconception that artists are making art to be seen and consumed by the public. And to some extent, they are. But sometimes they’re also just doodling their coffee cup. Or making random marks on the page with a new pencil. Or drawing a really crappy rendition of the flowers on the dining room table because they feel rusty and out of practice. By all means, look and support at our work but understand that just because someone is drawing or working in a sketchbook, doesn’t mean it’s a vanity piece. It doesn’t even mean it’s good. Or art. It could just be a doodle. And that’s OK. But please don’t seem disappointed when the big reveal is just a series of lines and hatch marks.  
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Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Artists love compliments as much as the next guy--sometimes it feels really good to have those kind words validated and backed up by an action, however. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy their work (though that would be nice, too) but more that if you care about someone’s work and feel they’re talented, show up for them. Go to their shows, be there to help take down work, figure out how to be a good resource for them when they can’t seem to get to the gallery AND the grocery store to grab snacks for a reception.
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The first rule of studio is don’t talk about studio
An artist’s studio is their place to be free and create stuff. Even if it’s not going to be their “legacy”. There’s a good chance that their work space is a mess. They know that and probably feel pretty bad for having a messy space to begin with. It’s also entirely possible that an artist’s studio is an homage to work they love, not necessarily their own. Opening the door to their space where they are supposed to be realizing all the expectations society has on them for choosing this absurd lifestyle can be pretty intimidating. Honor that space and let it be what it needs to--a place for them to create.
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Thank you Larissa from Unravelled for this week's post!

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