When you started your life as an artist, you probably used art as a means of expressing yourself and finding peace. This is how most artists get started — with true and pure intentions.
But as your art has improved and you’ve begun to consider art as a career, the pressure has started to mount. What once served as a haven from the outside world has now become a stressor that participates with the outside world — causing you to source less joy from the production of your art.
First of all, it’s important to know that this is okay. You’re on the trajectory of life as an artist! But you can’t let fear hold you back.
In this article, we’re giving you 5 ways to overcome fear as an artist so that you can achieve your dreams — and more importantly — feel at peace in doing so.
Let’s tap into that inner Zen that you know you have in you!
1. Reap Joy From the Process
One of the biggest mistakes that young artists make is sourcing affirmation from rewards/accolades rather than the act of producing art.
Here’s the thing about notoriety: it’s highly fleeting. When you do get recognized (which, overtime, you will), that high might last for a moment, or a night, or a week. But then your ego is going to start salivating for more, and more, and more, until you’ve lost sight of what you’re in pursuit of altogether.
So, instead of seeking external affirmation of the art that you make, appreciate yourself for being brave enough to sit down and engage in the creative process. It takes a lot of courage, and that is what helps you to overcome fear as an artist — your willingness to be vulnerable!
2. Accept That You Are Not Entitled
The Bhagavad Gita is a Hindu scripture that works as a guide for living an honorable life. There is one moment in particular that states that you are entitled to the fruits of your labor, but only to the labor itself.
What does this mean?
It means that you are only entitled to your ability to create art — not to receive recognition for it. When you embrace this, you are able to be truly thankful for the fact that you even have the capacity to produce art in the first place, which is a real gift in itself.
As you introduce gratitude into your artistic life, shame over “failure” withers away. It’s one of the most powerful ways to overcome fear as an artist.
3. Release Unhealthy Attachment
Because art is such an expressive form, many artists believe that their artwork is an extension of themselves. And this is true, in some respects.
The danger comes when your ego gets involved. You start to believe that judgement of your art is a judgement upon you as a human being. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Just because someone isn’t interested in your art doesn’t mean you’re unworthy or irrelevant. In fact, it doesn’t even mean your art is bad. It just means that someone, or a group of people, aren’t interested. And that’s okay. You’re probably not interested in lots of things as well. That doesn’t mean you hate the people that are producing those things.
People aren’t seeing you and your art as you see it. When you come to terms with this, your capacity to overcome fear as an artist is amplified.
4. Avoid Disempowerment
Artists that take negative results personally are destined to suffer. Negative results can lead to blaming of the self and loss of confidence, an willingness to put your art out there, or even quitting altogether.
This is the dangerous process of disempowerment. Your self-esteem and well-being are given over to a third party, who won’t handle it with care. Don’t let this happen.
To overcome fear as an artist you must release all anger towards those who don’t initially support you. It’s not about proving them wrong or getting payback — that is ego-driven. It’s about giving yourself freedom to explore everything that your soul has to offer through art, and letting that stand for itself.
5. Put Yourself Out There
At the end of the day, the only way to overcome fear as an artist is to face that fear down. That means dealing with rejection, success, and everything in between.
We’d like to invite you to start that journey here, with us, at Gallerima. Our online art marketplace is all about discovering up-and-coming artists like you who want to get their work out into the world.
The application process is super simple, but we are highly selective. If you believe that your art is ready to be shared, then we want you to apply!
And remember, whether you are accepted or rejected, there is much to learn from both experiences. If you are listed, take it with grace and be thankful rather than using it to juice your ego. If you’re rejected, it only means that your art journey is just beginning! We’re excited to see what you have in store for us. Good luck to you with your application to Gallerima and all your pursuits as an artist. No matter what, we’re here to help you grow.