How to Get Noticed - a Guide for Aspiring Artists and Gorgeous Cheese
Oh dear heart - I remember well the frustration of having good art pile up with no distribution action. We have a dream to paint all day and sell plenty of art for plenty of dollars to allow us this charmed life. It absolutely happens for some of us, while for others it feels like beating our heads against a wall.
Before going on any further I want to honour the gift of frustration for it’s wonderful ability to stop us from settling short of our heart’s deepest purpose and desire. The glorious Thing we were made for. The Thing which offers equal parts challenge and reward and which fits us and our development like the proverbial glove. It DOES EXIST. It’s waiting for you, and
Like a 9 year-old planning out their ideal wedding dress we often make the mistake of planning our future dreams out and setting our heart on attaining them before really understanding our unique gifting in it’s deepest essence. Before we reach for the stars we must get our hands and knees dirty digging deep into the earth of our unique identity. It’s a job which requires diligence and “teachability”.
Openness to discovery which may not fit the presupposed dream goal will give us eyes to recognise precious clues in our Digging.
(Watch out! Here comes my favourite analogy…)
Imagine you are holding a healthy little sapling.
You know this is a living thing, charged with potential for incredible growth in time and capable of bearing fruit - more than enough to nourish ourselves and others who need it.
If we decide too much about what this sapling is going to grow to be, we may miss the clues as they present themselves of what this tree really is. We will not know how it needs to be cared for and may unwittingly stunt its growth.
I might dream to have this sapling be a vintage variety of apple. I dream to espalier it down a fence in a position perfectly suited to an apple tree. I have my lattice constructed and the appropriate fertiliser and pruning tools on stand-by.
When I start to see the sapling suffer in these premium conditions I wonder what I’m doing wrong. I find more information on how to get an apple tree to thrive.
It makes no difference.
I feel as though I’m beating my head against a wall trying to get my dream vintage apple tree to grow. I start feeling pressured since I’ve been telling my family and friends all about my amazing espaliered apple dream. I start wondering if there’s actually something wrong with me.
That maybe I don’t have talent to make things grow.
Do you see the disadvantage in this?
This sapling is resilient, though. And if we take the time to give it good basic love, assess its characteristics as they emerge, and care as required what we actually see flourishing is a mulberry tree instead. Maybe it doesn’t like to grow near fences, can’t derive nourishment from that fertiliser and would suffer to be espaliered. Maybe it hates having to look that word up in the dictionary, too.
It wants a nice grassy patch to grow flipping HUGE and splendidly wild, its boughs bending under the weight of the abundant fruit.
So now would you like to see the application for an artist holding a metaphorical sapling?
If you’re still reading I’ll take that as a “YES”!
Firstly, we need to stop trying to get noticed. Gosh darnit, girl, stop reaching up so high.
(Don’t panic! It’s just for the time being.)
Just like a Get Rich Quick Scheme or Lose Weight Fast, the results are probably evasive and potentially short-lived and won’t that leave us feeling undesirable levels of hopelessness and inadequacy?!
Need to start the excavation ASAP. Just pop that sapling down for a sec.
Once we fall in love with The Digging and make exciting discoveries about who we are and what we truly love, what value we bring to those around us in our breathing, sweating daily life, what comes of this will attract the attention we need in exceptional timing (test me on it! - I truly believe there’s a stunning design on your life, aka “destiny”).
Behold, the Digging is the same as loving on the sapling in the way any living plant would need. It grows bigger, develops further and we start to see what this thing really is. We can get excited about Mulberry Pie recipes and jam and fruit soup. (Maybe not the fruit soup… my grandma used to make that with sago and fruit which “needs to be used” and it wasn’t a favourable childhood memory, bless her soul.)
Our first job is to find the path to our authentic voice, our style, our purest expression. Our first job is to sort out our headspace and come at it on grubby knees in humility and with an open and teachable spirit. This is The Digging. Everyone wanting to put out anything of real value will spend a solid and consistent amount of time diligently doing their Digging.
Are you understanding the nature of this Digging?
It’s the searching and testing. It’s the care not to make assumptions and draw absolutes before thorough searching and testing. It requires us to develop effective and habitual systems of analysis. Settle in for the long-haul. This cheese takes years to get really gorgeous.
But babe, it’s worth every second! Because THIS is the only way to become excellent, abundantly unique, and unstoppable.
We never have creative block.
We don’t require approval or permission from others.
We know our true value and creative power.
We don’t paint to be admired; we paint to search and express.
Our treasure cannot be bought, borrowed or stolen.
We live fully alive and are accountable to our heart’s deepest purpose.
We bring great value to the lives of those around us.
We derive formidable joy from simple things.
Judgement is powerless against us.
We don’t engage in or enjoy gossiping.
(Wait… what?! What the heck does avoiding gossiping have to do with being an excellent artist??! Well… because we no longer live in a headspace where judgement has any power over us, we don’t engage in bringing judgement on others. Let’s be honest… gossiping is toxically judgemental. If you choose to go there, you choose to go back to the headspace where judgement against you has power to affect you again. Even self-judgement. BOOM. Choose to believe in the inherent goodness of people, to allow them their process however controversial it may seem. You’ll automatically live in the same freedom you create for them. And it’s only in freedom that we find and empower the best version of ourselves. Am I cray-cray or does this connection make sense to you??!)
It’s in the long haul Digging that we develop exactly what we need to handle all the challenges which a professional career will present. We invest in the stuff which can’t be shaken. Which renders us more fabulous in hardship instead of diminished.
NOT ONLY professional career challenges and set-backs, but personal life ones too. See the gloriously elegant efficiency here?
ALL the birds with one stone.
We might throw up all kinds of reasons why this “Digging” business ain’t gonna happen any time soon.
No time for it.
No energy for it.
I have these more important responsibilities to attend to.
I really just want to sell my art.
I just want more followers and likes on my Instagram posts, that’s all thanks Ange.
If this sounds like the excuses from a voice in your head when we started talking about dirty knees and diligent digging and cheese made fabulous by the years…
I want to put something to you.
Close your eyes…
Hang on, nope. You’ll have to keep reading so that won’t work.
Quiet yourself. Sink down deep inside.
How does it feel down there?
Is it peaceful or restless?
Are you happy?
Were you sorta afraid to go?
or- oh dear! Maybe you might have trouble getting deep enough to know…
You may even need to practice accessing your deepest consciousness. (Is that another blog post topic?!)
Restlessness, frustrated raging, ouchy-emptiness or an inability to go deep enough to even know are all signs of long-term slavery.
For the most part, your deepest identity (which is super creative btw) has been suffering unemployment. And the other faculties, instead of serving your heart’s deepest desire have slaved away for something superficial and unfulfilling… or worse: somebody else’s amazing espaliered vintage apple dream.
If you’re an artist, the way you do your Digging is to get all crazy about process. For a good long time. You may actually never snap out of it, and this is for the best.
To get crazy about process is to stop being crazy about the product. To show up daily and make our marks. To experiment, test and explore. To keep watch. Guard our process from outside pressures for product. We aren’t afraid of “wrecking it” because we know we are covering more ground anyway. We are getting closer, failures and successes equally valuable in informing our aesthetic data base for uniqueness and sophistication. We know perfection is not required of us, only that we do not stop Digging. We release every piece of art from the pressure to be wonderful. Valuable. Saleable. Admirable. Then we get really wild, raw and adventurous. We get totally nutso-unique. And the greatest love affair takes passionate hold of us.
If you just dismissed yourself from the Digging because you work representationally with expensive watercolours and Kolinsky sable brushes, forgive me. But I DARE YOU TO LET LOOSE. It doesn’t mean you need to necessarily work in an abstract intuitive style, although it would be beneficial.
During the Digging it is of dire importance that you learn to take note.
Assess your feelings and findings.
Assess how you roll with failure and success.
Keep an eye out for discoveries.
Do it consistently, whole-heartedly and as often as possible. Just show up and play. Take note of the thought habits which pressure you into prioritising product. Write them down. They can’t sneak around tricking you for much longer if you write them down!
Keep doing this and you will start to see things emerge which are inspiringly unique.
This is what we long to see from you! The youest you. We are so tired of seeing copies, “trendy” art and productions pumped from a factory heart. There is SO MUCH MORE FOR US. Once we let go of our frivolous apple dream, open up to authenticity and mind-blowing abundance ensues.