The week after a show’s opening is an odd time for me. Even though you might think it would be a time to relax and savor the success of the show, it seldom is. Yes, I do get to let out a deep sigh of relief just to have the task done and to have not fallen on my face. But I am often fatigued from writing and speaking so much about myself and my work.
It’s a fatigue that makes me feel a bit grimy and greasy. I feel like I’m covered with an unpleasant layer of ego sweat that can’t be washed away. It has to fade away slowly.
I’ve always viewed the work of self-promotion as simply being a necessary aspect of the job of being an independent artist. In simplest terms, I am basically a small business that produces a product and every small business must promote their product or they will not stay in business for very long. So I do what I can to promote the work, writing about and pushing the paintings out into the world of social media to raise the profile of my product.
But when the product is the art which is at its core you and your internal self, there is a sense that you are selling your very being. That ups the stakes a bit because to not succeed feels like a diminishing of yourself. It feels as though it is not just the art that is or is not being embraced, it is you.
You try to keep that view at bay, to keep the self and the art separate, but when you are putting so much of yourself into the work it is a hard thing to do.
So you either embrace the task as a necessary evil and forge ahead, risking the rejection of work and yourself by the public or you avoid it altogether. But avoiding it is like avoiding exercise– you know it’s good for you but it is so much easier to skip it and make excuses for why your time is better spent doing just about anything else. No sweating and no effort required.
I choose to do this work and part of that is accepting that grimy ego sweat and the fatigue from always pushing my product and myself. But like anything that you do over and over again, you come to know that feeling and realize that eventually the effort yields positive results.
That’s where I am today– sweaty and tired. But the feeling will fade and I will soon be ready to go at it again with all the effort I can muster.
But until then I am letting my mind wander and I find myself far away. In this case, I find myself completely intrigued by this image from NASA that captures Jupiter in a stereographic image taken from below its South Pole. I’ve looked at this image about a dozen times over the past couple of days and I find myself mesmerized by it. It is just about as far away as I can get and it cools the ego sweat in a most wonderful way.