Recently I designed a t-shirt that says “ARTROVERTS UNITE! We’re here! We’re uncomfortable! We want to go home and create something.”
If you had asked me a few years ago when I started selling art, what it takes to be a successful artist… my answer would have been simple: the ability to produce good art.
I imagined that my artistic life would consist solely of me working in my studio, producing strokes of genius.
Art collectors would magically appear (poof) to buy art and leave. I would rarely have to leave my studio, and I would never have to go out into the “real” world. I would never again have to go to any social gathering I didn’t want to go to. This belief was clearly absurd, but I had all kinds of silly ideas in my brain jar of what being an artist was.
Now, almost a decade into it, I realize the subject of what it takes to be successful as an artist is much more intricate. It’s not just about producing art, although that is a BIG part of it. It’s about putting yourself out there again and again. Falling on your face and accepting rejection as part of the process.
Had I known all these years, my fear would have either gotten the better of me, or I would have blazed my own trail long ago. I would have become an ARTROVERT.
I love making art. I love being in my studio. Creativity is what keeps me from losing my shit, makes my life meaningful, and encourages me to jump out of bed in the morning even when the world seems to be amid a crap-storm.
The thing I didn’t understand when I first started was how much being an artist would require me to stretch myself. Or maybe I knew, which is why for most of my life, I didn’t pursue an art career. I stayed comfortably in the shallow end.
I had a friend that used to tell me that even our dream jobs will have roles we don’t like but which we accept so we can do the parts we love.
To be an artist, we have to accept the discomfort of being perpetually vulnerable, having no financial security, and being rejected often.
This involves putting yourself out there in front of the world… Which can be terrifying.
So How did you do it Rafi? How did you get over your fear?
I decided to take it step by step and not try to eat the entire enchilada all at once. I realized it wasn’t all or nothing, I could do it in chunks. I knew those chunks were going to hit on some major comfort zones. I also stopped comparing myself to where other artists were at in their careers.
Being an ARTROVERT is all about accepting the fact that it is OK that you don’t want to be social, and not punishing yourself for it. It means that you trust in communicating with your art and don’t concern yourself so much with how people see you.
You’re an artist, you are weird, and awkward sometimes, and that is OK. Artroverts love their studio, they love creating, and they love their quiet time. An artrovert also understands that if you are not putting yourself out there, you are not communicating your art with the world… so you show up.
To be an artist, it is quite simple. Create art, put it out there, and persist through the bullshit of your own mind or other people. Keep creating, keep showing up, and through that experience, you will let your weird artistic personality shine into the world along with your art.
Be unapologetically awkward, be creative, be an ARTROVERT.
Listen to our podcast below, where Klee and I talk about being ARTROVERTS.
And Here is A Quick Message From Some Random Sponsor (sorry 🙂 not sorry)