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There comes a point when you want to share something you’ve made. You’re really excited about a particular collage and want to show it off– so you join a few Facebook groups, make an account on Flickr, maybe even start an art Instagram page. And then it’s time to actually UPLOAD your art…and the panic sets in.
Fearful thoughts pop up, ones like:
- What if people don’t like my art?
- What if they think I’m a bad artist?
- What if they completely ignore me and it’s all a huge waste of time?
Which leads to thinking: Maybe it’s better to just keep my art to myself.
Fearful thinking can kill your spirit and stifle artistic growth. While there’s some merit to developing your art style without depending on the opinions of others, being a part of the community and sharing your art with others is hugely beneficial. You’ll learn new ideas and techniques, network with other artists, and gain self-confidence in your own art. Hiding away your art is doing no-one any favors, least of all yourself.
– n. A belief or conviction that an outcome will be favorable.
– n. Belief in the certainty of something.
Artists who aren’t confident make fear-filled art pieces. It’s super obvious when someone isn’t sure if their piece is good or not– it shows up in their art whether they want it to or not. Confidence is key to amazing art, and to share your art online is to gain confidence.
You won’t be able to grow as an artist if you don’t have any confidence in your own art. This can tie back into some of the things I wrote about regarding art jealousy– you might be comparing yourself to other people, and don’t see how your own art is worthy of attention, too. Making the jump to sharing your art online is the first step in gaining more confidence.
Sharing on social media
It’s a big step to go from fearful to fabulous, so try taking a LITTLE step first.
Share your art on your Instagram or Facebook page. Talk about why or how you made that piece, what you like about it, and the process behind making it. Directly ask for feedback and comments— sometimes people need a nudge, so start the conversation yourself by inviting people to leave their thoughts on your post.
Make posting a regular habit: once or twice a week add a new piece to your page. Pretty soon you’ll be posting like it’s no big deal!
Sharing with an online community
It’s important to not only share your art on your own page, but so share it directly with other artists.
Usually our personal social media accounts are full of friends and family, and while they love you and want to support you they typically won’t be able to give specific feedback or discussion. Oftentimes they won’t know what to say besides “I like it.” That’s nice to hear, but it can also be a little demoralizing if you really want an in-depth discussion of techniques you used, color choices, patterns, etc.
On the other hand, sharing your pieces directly with other artists can open up actual artistic discussion. Other artists are very enthusiastic about art, and they love to talk about the little nitty-gritty processes behind making a piece.
While it may be intimidating to share your art with other artists…you gotta do it.
The next step to gaining confidence is to find an online art community and share art there. Facebook is a quick and easy way to find groups of artists: search for “collage art” and a few dozen groups show up, all full of artists sharing their pieces with each other. Start posting your art there, again once or twice a week, and be sure to invite comments and feedback.
Suggested collage communities
Not sure where to go to find an online collage community? Here’s some groups you might want to check out:
- Forum: A Singular Creation Art Community, a forum for artists of all kinds, though it does seem more focused on traditional art. Has different levels of criticism available for those artists who really want in-depth feedback (or not).
- Ning: The International Society of Assemblage and Collage Artists, a group sponsored by the Ontological Museum and its wings, the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction and the Fluxmuseum.
- Facebook: COLLAGE ARTISTS WORLDWIDE, which has a lot of international members (obviously) and features a member’s piece of art in the header every month or so.
- Facebook: Collage Artists of America, the FB group for the non-profit organization of the same name. You don’t have to be a paying CAA member to join the FB group.
- Flickr: Vintage Collage Art, for collage made using vintage materials or images.
- Flickr: Gluebooks, for pages and collages made in gluebooks. (See: What are gluebooks?)
Quick tip: search “[specific type of art] + community” to find other groups that may not be on Facebook or Ning.
Take the leap: share your art
The hardest thing about putting yourself out there is not knowing whether anybody will like your stuff. That fear can make it very difficult to even START posting your art anywhere.
However, if you’re serious about being a better artist and about joining the artistic community, then you just have to do it. You have to stop hiding and you have to start sharing.
Take the leap! Share your art!
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