The Artist (Hiding) Behind the Art
I've learned to be more outspoken in recent months as opposed to staying in my shell. As an artist, it's really easy to pour yourself into your work and keep your head down. Hiding your face behind the art that you post on social media. "People are there for my art, not me!" - or at least that's what we keep telling ourselves. As much as we like to believe this, you as an artist are your brand. People are far more likely to want to support you and your art if they feel like they know you.
Even after understanding this concept, the next step can be unclear. Are we supposed to post a few selfies and write a ‘meet the artist’ caption and call it day? While that’s a great idea for a single post, I promise you have more to offer your audience. I wrestled with this for the longest time. Since joining Twitch, something has been awakened in me. All of a sudden I feel like I have something to say and something worth sharing beyond my art. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to say before, but a handful of comments and direct messages have helped me see the value of what I already had to offer. I've been sharing my art on Instagram and Facebook for more than 5 years now, and after 6 swift months live-streaming on Twitch, my following on Twitch has eclipsed my following on Instagram. This has forced me to re-think the kind of content my audience is actually interested in seeing. Going live on Twitch shows my most authentic self. I goof-off with my viewers, answer questions and give them art advice. I'd never once thought to share anything other than my art on my other social media platforms, but contrary to what I thought, showing my face, being myself, and sharing my ideas didn't drive my followers away - it helped me find my tribe.
Now I know you’re thinking that’s all well and dandy for you, Trisha, but I’m me. I didn’t go to art school, I’m not a Twitch streamer with a following like you, and that big monster they call imposter syndrome has a tight grasp on me. I’m here to tell you that yes, you might not have the same experience I do, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to offer. My experience adds value because it’s unique to me, and for that same reason your life experience is valuable to your audience.
You do have something to say.
I let this hold me back for far too long. Reluctant to show the face behind the art I continued to post my works in progress and finished art, but some of the content I enjoyed most from other creators was their authenticity, trade secrets, and comedic content. Don't compare yourself to the experts in your field. While there are tons of people in the world with more experience than you, there are even more with less. I'm not saying you should talk down to your audience - you should treat them as your peers. That's how you view the other artists you follow on social media, right? Share your recent discoveries, new art supplies, mind-blowing shower thoughts, anything!
Similar to creating art, the ideas we have are rarely original. Don't let that bog you down. Just because it's been said before in some way doesn't mean it's not worth repeating or that your thoughts aren’t a valuable addition. How many times have you heard the message 'just be yourself'? It probably fell on deaf ears time and time again but at some point, you heard that same message framed just right and it reached you at the right time in your life and it clicked. I'm telling you again. Be yourself and be authentic. The authenticity behind what you have to share is far more important than the originality of the idea. I know that showing the face of the artist in addition to your art isn’t new ground-breaking advice, but I can tell you that there was one particular creator that told me in their own words and it hit differently. I absorbed that idea, put it into practice, and here I am sharing it again with you with my own personal anecdotes, experience, and insecurities. I can only hope that my words hit differently for you, and you’re able to glean something new from them you hadn’t before.