Shifting your perspective: from competition to community.
Updated: Nov 27, 2020
As an artist, before I became an Educator, there was always a push by mentors and teachers to do and be your best at whatever your chosen path. For me that meant to create the best artwork that I could, to better my skills for that competitive edge, and be just a little bit better than someone else at that next job interview.
Yes, we all want to be the best version of ourselves, get the best grades and accolades that come with it--to be noticed. I always felt I had to hold my cards close to my chest, not wanting to divulge my secrets of how I created something, came up with an idea or what tools I used to get there. After all, it's just business. As I grew as an artist and began to progress in my graduate degree program to become an Art Teacher (way back when) something had finally clicked.
After all the late night lesson plans, certification exams and student teaching, it really started to sink in. My purpose was not just to create art but to pass on my skills to others and share my joy. I've always been one who loved to recommend something and even better when the person loved that restaurant or those shoes. But seeing a student of any age have that a-ha moment of creativity in one of my classes, sharing tips on our favorite colored pencils and sharpeners or hearing that their work got accepted into a competition, is so incredibly gratifying. It was the individual connections through art and teaching subjects that I loved, that really made the difference.
I have learned so much more about the concept of community as of late, in the realm of Instagram. This social media platform is flooded with so many talented makers and creative entrepreneurs. Sure, we can all hope to have slightly better skills, have more sales or have more followers, but is that or should that really be the goal? I have met many wonderful people, some that work with the same mediums or subject matter and perhaps wish to attract the same clients. The value in these relationships comes from how you cheer on and support one another. What better way to enjoy what you do than to share it with other like-minded individuals? Viewing others in the same field as part of a community that supports and shares ideas rather than competition for yourself can make all the difference. Creating art does't have to be such a solitary existence. Get out there. Connect. Find the Facebook groups, follow pages of people whose work you admire. Start a conversation. We are all out there trying to make a living at whatever job we possess. The way I see it, there are plenty of seats around the figurative dining table for all of the "starving artists." Chances are, someone is facing the same struggles that you are as an artist or that you overcame. You never know where a connection that you make with a person might just lead but having the correct mindset to open those doors might just be the key.
Create Something Beautiful Today.