We all have it: This imposter syndrome demon. The doubt demon.
The classic self-deprecating artist is unfortunately very much a reality. So too, is the exaggerated ego of an artist full of self-importance. Most of us would like to sit somewhere in the middle, but the reality is that a lot of us hang pretty low on that confidence pole.
Having a lack of confidence to call your-self an artist, much less a professional artist is something many creatives suffer from.
That’s because art making is very much an extension of yourself — a revelation of your inner self. Unlike other professions, the very act of creating has the potential to expose an artist’s soul to the rigours of others opinion.
One thing I’ve observed as I interview more and more artists is that they all suffer, in varying degrees from the same demon. The imposter syndrome demon.
This demon sits on their shoulders peering down at their work as they paint, draw and sculpt. It dances on the top of their head taunting them, telling them:
“No, that’s not good enough!”
“Surely you can do better.”
“Just who do you think you are?”
“You’re not an artist.”
“You’re an imposter.”
Confidence. You want it.
So how do you kill that doubt demon and get it?
By learning new things.
Take courses and build up your existing skills. There are always other ways of seeing things and new ways of doing that an artist can learn and build upon. Find new people to talk to, meet and learn from. Push yourself to try loads of different things. Why? Because if you hold on to where you are most comfortable you will not grow. You will remain stuck. Jump feet first into transition and movement. The more you grow and learn, the more your confidence will increase.
Surrounding yourself with an A-team.
Surround yourself with people that are genuinely supportive. Get rid of any negative Nancy’s and dismissive Dan’s from your inner circle. Or if you want to keep them around, just don’t show them your work anymore! Only seek constructive criticism from a select, and supportive A-team.
Friends and family can be helpful, but the opinion of professional artists and fellow art students will be invaluable. They understand the journey you are travelling. Don’t forget to make the most of the Mentors and support staff at The Learning Connexion. They are always more than happy to provide you with regular feedback. Your chosen A-team will support you as you grow in your artistic ability and confidence.
Understanding that practice makes perfect.
If you played a sport or instrument as a kid, it’s something your parents probably told you time and time again. And it’s true! Practicing and DOING art is the key to becoming more confident in your ability as an artist. In order to get better you simply have to produce. That’s just how it works. There’s no getting around it. The more you produce the better you will get. Your level of confidence will grow parallel to your artistic ability.
By ‘faking it till you make it’.
The coolest trick I’ve ever learnt is the power pose. It’s also been called the superwomen or superman stance. In short it’s about how your body posture reflects how you feel on the inside. If you’re having a bad day, or feel small or unimportant you will tend to make yourself look small and unimportant. You will cross your legs and arms and hunch over into yourself.
To feel confident, stand confidently. Go on and try it now. Adjust your body posture. Stand still, hold your head up high, push your chest out and place your hands on your hips. Stand like this for two whole minutes. It might feel a little silly at first but soon you will start to feel the strength of the power pose.
By planning and tracking your progress.
Plan, track and keep notes on your artistic progress. Ideas and creativity tend to come and go in circles. Every experience you have in life will feed your artwork in some way, shape or form. TLC encourage all their students to keep a visual diary. This will grow to become something you treasure in later years. There’s nothing better than looking back at something you did a year, or a week ago, and seeing how far your art has developed.
Showing your work. Lots.
Enter as many art exhibitions and art shows that you can. There’s nothing that compares to the real life experience of getting ready for an exhibition. Putting your work out there is bloody hard. The best way to conquer your fear is to do it. Each public showing will teach you something about yourself and about your art. You will grow quicker in knowledge, confidence and skill as you approach each one. I recommend you take full advantage of The Learning Conexion’s regular student exhibitions and put in your all. Nothing beats that euphoric feeling when you sell your first piece!
Let us know if you have any other tips we can offer our students. What worked for you?
Kill the demon and become a more confident artist.
Start today by signing up to study art and creativity at The Learning Connexion School of Art and Creativity. Call us on 0800 278 769 or request a prospectus to find out more about our weekend classes and programmes.