Is it okay to think you're a great artist?

Credit Amina Harper.

A few days ago I posted a question to my Facebook without really knowing the gravity of what I was asking. This question was regarding how an artist should feel about their art and if it's okay for that artist to love the work they make; to think that they're a talented artist.

I posed the question like this...

"Are there any other artists out there who feel kinda bad for thinking or saying that they're great artists?"

I wasn't asking to be self-deprecating and I wasn't trying to imply that an artist who loves their art is a narcissist. But when you're working in a career field that praises you for doing your own thing and yet you simultaniously encounter people who call you selfish for doing just that, it's hard not to take that message in. Like I said before, I didn't expect the variety of responses I got from local artists and creatives because when I usually ask questions on social media, no one answers. But I was pleasantly surprised by the dialogue that ensued.

Stefani McDade (local artist)

"I think that enjoying your art is a requirement, thinking the result is good while also being critical is also helpful to keep yourself going, thinking your work is great with perspective is just fine also, but without critique, won't help. I'd still say that thinking your work is stunning based on little is better than thinking your work is terrible for no reason, I think it's always about pushing yourself forward, and that requires positivity and perspective evenly."

Lizzy Blu (local artist)

"I think personally we as artists are very critical of our works and with that can back fire for us to think that about much of our works. But at times there are pieces I make that blow my mind and well it would be hard not to think that I am doing good."

We all have good days and bad days. Sometimes you begin a project and you think it's going to be exceptional. Then you get started and you feel yourself agonizing over the creative process, only to come out with something that isn't even close to meeting your standards. You know you can do better, you've seen yourself do better, but for some reason you just didn't live up to your skills this time. This happens to everyone, but what these artists are stating is that perspective about one's art is important. Try to look at your work through as honest a lens as humanly possible, and if your lens is getting cloudy look for critique from others.

Gip Matthews (Co-Owner at Kick Stand Press)

"You should never feel bad about taking pride in your Art. I think an Artist should feel bad about putting other Artist's work down. Your art is remarkable and you ARE an artist that has strong work."

Rudy Fig (local artist)

"My brain never goes there. We are all great in one way or another."

These are good points, there is nothing wrong with thinking you are talented as long as you aren't pulling yourself up with the intent of dragging others down. However, it's also important to remember that it's okay to feel that not all artwork is beautiful. It can't be said enough that everyone has different aesthetic tastes and that it is okay not to like everything you see. But there is a difference between not having a preference for something and flat out disregarding it.

Stefani McDade:

"I personally feel like if I'm the best, or the worst, artist in the room at an event, I did something wrong."

I like this idea, because it presents the notion that works from different artists should complement one another when on display. And also that to view your, or others, talents in terms of extremes is a dangerous mindset to hold onto. It can damage your confidence and screws with your perspective. I've had moments when I think I'm the absolute BEST, and it never takes long for me to see the work of others and get knocked back to reality. And the reality is that we are all progressing, evolving and changing our styles and will continue to do so over time. It is impossible to be the best at something that is always changing.

Joe Sinness (local artist)

"You know you're talented. Fess up! Come on. Let's start a revolution. I'll confess that I'm fantastic at drawing asses."

Ron Brown (local artist)

"I don't feel bad because it's the truth."

Being talented and loving what you do is never a bad thing; especially if you are also supporting and appreciating others for what they are bringing to the table. I don't know why we aren't encouraged to show more pride in what we do (and there is probably someone out there making a great deal of money of off these insecurities). If you are good at what you do than never be ashamed of that. If the world had more people expressing happiness in their abilities and cherishing the talents and skills of others we would be one step closer to making the world a better place.

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    Amina Harper