September Thoughts: The Gap

There is a blurb from an interview with NPR host Ira Glass, that offers advice to beginners in the creative industry. He talks about the gap between our taste and our work. Watch here.

Hearing this for the first time a few months ago was eye-opening. For artists starting out, we always look to the best work and the most successful people out there for inspiration. With a little bit of knowledge and experience, we believe we can do that. We develop such great tastes and learn to see what's good and bad in our field of art. We look towards "what's next" for ourselves, never looking back into our own work and asking ourselves whether it reflects how good we think we are?

I see this phenomenon a lot in myself and my peers. Beginners like us always think about what we like, what inspires us, what speaks to us, what we CAN do, and what we dislike. We spend a lot of time developing our taste. We think how special we are for having this taste, how we would love to own a studio and create art all the time, how great we can be if only someone gave us a chance...

Me me me.
A self-portrait, 2012.

A self-portrait, 2012.

But if you want to succeed as an artist, and actually sell your work, who cares about you??!? It's not about what you want and your tastes. It's about what others need and how you fill in that void by being professional and extraordinary in your services. Sure, you want to be wildly successful and shoot all the big ad campaigns and make all the money. But you have to work your way there, and that means doing the bitchwork until you have the experience and work to show that you are capable of deserving what you ultimately want. And then maybe someone will see that and give you a chance.