Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stroking the Artist Ego

Several years ago I came across some graffiti on a Sydney street that went something like "The artist must be will willing to stand naked on a stage." This impressed me at the time as being very true, and when I held an Artist Reception for my current show on Sunday, it once again seemed so relevant.

It's wonderful to hang a body of work after it has been waiting in the studio for months, maybe years. It looks different somehow, more professional, and hopefully seems to relay something as a whole rather than just a bunch of individual pieces. There can be a sense of culmination of a great deal of effort and emotional input.

But there is a darker side to this exercise too. It can feel suddenly quite vulnerable to open myself to the opinions of others. I know that the work may not have meaning for others and it certainly doesn't "fit" with more traditional definitions of what art might be. There is risk involved, exhilarating but also a bit scary. So it was with many varied emotions that I invited friends to view my work.

I felt so grateful for the warm and positive feedback I received. It was delightful to share the work with others and to know that the work is out in the world. And how happy I was that people actually showed up! The artist ego is tough and fragile at the same time, and it feels good to be "stroked" and recognized.

Barbara Bartlett

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