Many visual artists have no particular trouble starting pieces but lots of trouble finishing them. Why is finishing a work of art problematic for so many artists? In this series we’ll look at twelve reasons. Here’s reason number one:
Reason 1. Not ready to start selling and experience all that potential criticism, silence and rejection
Some artists are natural-born salespeople and love the marketplace. Most artists are extremely reluctant salespeople and a sizeable number despise treating their works of art as commodities.
Not only is selling art difficult and often unpalatable, the act of submitting your works of art for sale brings up the specter—and the likelihood, verging on the certainty—that you will be met regularly (and far too often) by silence and indifference, on the one hand, and criticism and outright rejection, on the other.
Few artists want this silence, indifference, criticism and rejection and many artists find such interactions so painful that they avoid them at all costs. One simple way to avoid the painful side of selling art is to not complete your works of art. There are other ways, too—by completing things and then putting them aside and letting them accumulate, by making such limited efforts at marketing that they hardly count as marketing at all, etc.—but by far the simplest way, and a way chosen by lots of artists, is simply to not complete things.
If you are caught up in this dynamic, try to break this cycle right now. Spending frustrating year after frustrating year not completing your works of art because you loathe or fear the marketplace is a very bad idea. Please try to get easier with the marketplace and decide to brave it. You may not love this idea; but is having three-quarters-finished works of art piling up the happier prospect?
I hope you’ve found these 12 reasons useful and even a little eye opening. Please come back and try out our other resources!
Indeed. Very true in my past experience. What has helped me was to give up the me/ego in my work, and just create, finish, deliver, repeat. Not judge myself in the work, distance myself from it, when possible. Difficult, but possible. I also learned to invite others to have deep conversations around works of art (not just mine), to really let themselves open to them and see what that process brings up. Surprise upon surprise, usually. The work becomes a catalyst, mediator and communicator.