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Know Yourself

Barron Ryan

The thinker  by Luke Chan

The thinker by Luke Chan

The Rubber Meets the Road

Overview of The Valued Artist? Check. Definition of terms? Double-check. Now come the actual steps in becoming an individual who's valued by your community because of how you express yourself. Hold onto your hats—this could be exciting.

Before you try to demonstrate your value to anyone else, you have to know what it is yourself, which is why knowing yourself is my first step in becoming a valued artist. It clarifies what you're communicating to the world, plus it increases confidence. Knowing yourself involves three essential questions, so let's get to them.

1. Who are you?

Look through the eyes of your audience and tell them why they should care about you. What's your story? Why do you feel the need to create art? The way you frame your response to this question may change depending on the setting, but it should always reflect you.

2. What do you stand for?

Your art reflects your values, so articulate what they are. They could be specific to the art you produce, like 'durability' if you make furniture, or more general, like 'integrity' if you make pretty much anything. Your audience will appreciate seeing how what you stand for comes through in your work.

3. Where are you going?

Know what you want to accomplish by the time your work is done. Once people become engaged with you and your art, they'll want to know what's coming next. Encourage yourself and your audience to get excited about what the future might hold.

That's It

Wait, where's the 'What do you do?' question? If you've been following along, you know that I don't think artists are defined by what they do. But if you want a refresher, this post sums up my opinion pretty well.

Want homework? You got it. Using one typed page, answer the three questions above. Once you're done, you'll gain the confidence of knowing that you're ready to show your community how valuable you are.