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The luxury of self doubt

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

So much has happened in such a short amount of time. Sometimes I take a look at my life and wonder, how do I keep landing back in this pile of paint tubes and canvas?

But then I remember, I am me and I live and breathe the free spirit of the artist. The true bohemian lives within me and won't be denied, shackled, or wrung dry. I am here to do exactly what I am doing.

The real question should have always been, why have I taken everyone else seriously, but me? As artists we tend to sell ourselves short. We think it's the other guy that has the gift, the moxie, the talent. We see our work as always a thing to improve upon and because of that, can't see what the rest of the world sees. Our gift.

Over the 30 years of my career, I have experienced more than most. I was a sign painter and muralist. A graphic designer. I licensed my work and had it turned into statues, tiles, mugs, and more. This is before the websites that now do that for anyone. I have been published, had an oracle deck created. Painted energy. Painted live on stage. Painted live at festivals and concerts. I have hung and sold in galleries, coffee shops, specialty shops, and sold online. I have sold in countries around the world to private collectors through my own website that I built. I have marketed for galleries and I have been the director for a very prestigious gallery here in Park City. I really have done so much. And yet the little voice in my head still feels the fear. Can I support myself? Am I enough?

The answer is a resounding yes. If you would have asked me 4 years ago if I thought I would be paid 1500 for a painting I would have squirmed and said "um... no". I was still being told by my closest companion that I was a hobbyist. I was treated as a b-lister by my mentor. I couldn't begin to conceptualize that I would wake up one day and think, "I am an artist." Frida Kahlo, Dahli, Worhol, Bowie. They all took themselves seriously and just did what came naturally to them. They were honest in their exposure of themselves and marketed the hell out of their work. They felt no shame in being artists and going after the realness of the need to market and show and share. They didn't talk about being a sell out. They didn't care. It wasn't on their radar. They just did... them.

Fast forward to now. I feel a surge of truth climbing out of my sticky web of self doubt. I am coming to realize that if I want to eat and survive and support myself, it has to be art. I am not given the option of something else. It forces me to focus. Think intellectually about the work. Slow down and build the process. It has me considering the full vision before throwing it out to the world and it has me want to do it right and well. I am counting on me to not be afraid. Or at least, if I am, to do it anyway.

I need me to work, everyday, diligently and intelligently, the way I worked for the gallery producing over half a million in sales. I ran that gallery. Half a million for one artists work. How did he do it? He believed in himself and took the risk. He went after it head on.

I have so many ideas in my head on how to take my knowledge to market. From courses to support membership to simply painting with a clear and purposeful message.

What I know is, I can't afford to not make it. I won't make it, if I don't make it. It's all I know how to do. I get to be an artist in my lifetime. In order to really go all the way, I have to rise to my potential, and do what is necessary to be one of the artists that are remembered. It's funny, I am not hungry for fame. I am hungry for peace and living a comfortable life. That's all. But to reach it, I must reach as high as I can go with my art.

I can't afford to beat up my muse or pick at my work. I can't afford to be insecure and sloppy. I can't afford to doubt myself. What I can afford, is to use every day in a way that counts. And from what I have experienced in these times, that is what it takes. The baggage has become too heavy to carry forward on the journey. It's time to put it down and show consistency.

I'm in for a hell of a ride. I really hope I have it in me to focus they way I need to. I have come to realize, I lose focus because I lose faith.

That is a luxury that does not serve. It's time to move on.

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