Most days I sit at my computer and work on pictures I have taken. I worry about so many things as I do this, just like we all do.
We log in, lovingly take out the avatar we have "crafted" over time. We put on an outfit that we shopped hours for, and paid for, accessorizing it with care. We pose her and tweak the settings to get the shot we want. Then we spend even more time in Photo Shop playing with a thousand options to produce the picture we end up using.
I upload my picture, write my blog, and hit enter to publish it all onto the net.
As I work in Flickr, on Blogger, in Facebook and Google I am exposed to the work of many other people. I am often inspired. I recognize how much I still have to learn, but rather than feeling defeated, I try to use the excellence of others to inspire me. I know it has been a long lonely journey for me to learn what I have and so I also try to take time to appreciate those who are beginning. I can look pictures and see talent and promise, even with jagged lines.
I can appreciate the effort and talent of subject matter and technique that is not my own and not my preference.
And every day I come across conversations of people laughing and ridiculing the efforts of others. And as I read how critical they are of the subject matter, the way someone looks, the way they are dressed, the picture they produced ... I feel like crawling under my desk and taking my pictures down and offering my sincerest apology for even trying to do something I had not done before.
Pablo Picasso said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."The adult artist is not allowed to learn their craft or to develop their own style. I think there must be an Artist Secret society that sends out invitations to people. I don't even think you have to be a great artist yourself to be part of the group, just willing to stab anyone else who even eyes the crayon box.
I have never heard a non artist/photographer/blogger say "your work is crap" about the efforts made. THAT condemnation seems to only come from the other artists/photographers/bloggers. We like to eat our own. Being an adult artist is like The Hunger Games but in this case the artists must kill one another in order to be fed. An arrow through the heart might be the kinder way, but artists are made to suffer the slow death of ridicule that you do not draw your sun like they draw theirs.
The entire nature of creativity, of art, is the different ways we see and interpret the world around us and yet it is exactly for that same reason that artists are destroyed. Daring to see things differently results in a resounding chorus from the gifted of "who do you think you are?"
So today I am on my third conversation where people pat each other on the back about how great their own efforts are and how terrible others are. I have followed links, looked at pictures that I have "liked," and heard them move from trashing the art, to trashing the person. Evidently artists must look a certain way as well. I realize I am also a "douche bag" who "tries too hard" and "has no talent" and I am seriously considering their important question of "why even bother?" because I am "just a waste of space."
Sorry that neither myself, nor my avatar are, or will ever be, perfect.
Sorry that my pictures are not done the way "real artists" do them.
Sorry that my trying is not good enough.
I spend a lot of time lately wishing I had appreciated my childhood a whole lot more. At least you could grab a piece of paper, and open your crayon box and colour in spider suns, and people with misshapen heads and crooked smiles, and your mom was proud to put it on the fridge and pronounce it "the most beautiful picture ever."
Maybe I should just blog on my kitchen fridge.