Perhaps it’s just my imagination, but occasionally I don’t feel like I fit in very well with other artists I meet at art shows.
I notice it most when I’m around artists dressed in black from head to toe, wearing dark eyeliner, and projecting an aura of depression.
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I don’t put that kind of effort into my wardrobe – in fact, jeans and a t-shirt is more my style. And not necessarily one of those cool, indie rock band t-shirts either.
But that’s not all. Whenever I mention that I’m an artist, I get the feeling that people are expecting a little more out of me personally than I really want to give.
Like philosophical conversations, for example.
I’ll admit to the occasional deep thought, and I sometimes even make them known to my close friends. But to be honest, most of my thinking is reserved for more mundane tasks – like painting, figuring out a new series, or writing articles for this website. For me, those alone take a lot of effort and I just don’t have too much time left over for “philosophizing.”
There’s another stereotype that I don’t really fit into either. . . I don’t listen to music. It’s kind of weird, I know, but ask me to name my favorite musical artist and you‘ll find that I don‘t have one. While most of my contemporaries love music – usually the more obscure the better – I just don’t have an opinion.
Instead, I love working on my classic car (a 1976 280z) and playing sports. I did a lot more of that back in high school and college, but it’s still a big part of my life.
I remember one point when these characteristics even made me think, “Am I really an artist?”
Well, of course I am. And I came to understand that just because someone dresses, talks, or acts a certain way, it doesn’t make them any more or less artistic than I am.
At the end of the day, it’s what you create that matters, not what you look like. Spending the time, energy, and money to fit into the art scene might buy you some temporary acceptance into a clique, but it won’t change your abilities as an artist or who you are deep down.
My recommendation? Focus on your art, ignore all the superficial stuff, and just be you. You’ll probably enjoy it.