There is tremendous reward in knowing that you are in control of outcomes and can troubleshoot mistakes by having a solid working knowledge of your craft. Instead of fighting the known limitations of materials, your mind is free to push the fluid boundaries of creativity.
As an artist, you must have total mastery of the process of production of your art. You must use the proper terminology, understand the basic chemistry, and use the best practical standards and materials. And as if that is not enough…
You have to be able to talk about it. What inspired you? How did you begin? Who taught you to do this? Which piece is the seminal work of the collection? When did you start working with this subject, medium or style? Have the answers to these questions ready. Short, pithy, confident answers, because even if you haven’t, you need to sound as if you have thought long and hard about these questions.
I am going through an uncomfortable adjustment period to some new materials, and I summed up my discomfort this way: I don’t like not knowing what I am doing. Right now, I am smack in the middle of the weeds, grasping for consistency, for competency, and finding that I have to work through this myself. During this time, I am not showing a lot of work or talking about outcomes– because I don’t have any yet. But when I do show, I will be an expert on these pieces, and I will understand this material. I will be able to guarantee its integrity and explain my processes.
Give yourself the time to develop work and technique so that you can showcase your expertise along with your work. It will give you confidence and help you connect with your audience, other artists and collectors. You may find opportunities to teach if you are perceived as an expert in your field, and other experts may want to share breakthroughs with you as a colleague.
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