Friday, October 22, 2010

shameless self promotion

Should I feel ashamed, promoting myself??
No, i shouldn't but even after all this time, mostly i still do.
This thought hit me this week, several's finally sinking in.
As i was talking about my plans for the evening with a artist friend this week, telling her about the 12 beautiful women who were to join my mixed media workshop that night, she asked "what workshop"?! Mind you, this was a good, artistic friend, who I paint with all the time. I've been doing workshops for 3 years and never once had I mentioned them to her. It hit me.
During the workshop, I'm talking to the girls about my background and one of them asked, how long did it take you to start calling yourself a professional artist. My answer, 2 years after i started selling my work. 2 YEARS! It hit me.
Later that week, I'm talking to a neighbor, who has been my neighbor for 8 years who asked me what I was always loading my truck up with. After I tell her artwork for the art shows I do, she says " really, I didn't know you were an artist". Mind you, this is a person who has been to my house for dinner, a friend and never had I mentioned to her i was an artist!? REALLY! It hit me.
Take a look at my FACEBOOK page if you get a chance. I have a ton of 'friends' who are artists and when you go to there page, you know it. They have their work shown and they are promoting themselves. Not me. Just randomness shown, no substance on who I am, what I do.
Is anyone feeling me on this? Why do we do this??
Is it because our art is so deeply personal? Is it because it feels like a piece of our heart? Is it because we don't feel worthy? Is it because we don't have a degree in art? Is it because we don't have a studio? Is it because it isn't a painting of a girl with a long neck and tilted head? Is is because we're scared we'll be laughed at? Is is because.....
What is your because?
Here are some photos of the Mixed Media Workshop I did this week with 12 creative goddesses.
BTW...I do workshops, lots of them and they ROCK!


  1. I think we do it because we are afraid of rejection. We are afraid of people not liking what we do. I am not as bad as you seem to be :) but I do this too.

  2. I feel you...

    You deserve to promote yourself. Keep working on it!

  3. With business minded friends, it seems an undo face of judgement falls upon my "none to little money making" projects. I would rather keep it to myself too. I don't even want my husband to tell people... only if they can appreciate. Haha I guess Im judging them more harshly.

  4. I feel the same way. For me it has to do with when I was growing up and people said creating art is an unrealistic job. Even family suggested I major in something else to get a 'real' job that would pay. Ever since I feel like people just frown upon it so I find it hard to talk about/promote it to anyone around me. I'm very thankful for the internet... to find other artistic souls and have a place to sell to customers world wide.

  5. JILL!!! i think it is amazing that you had this workshop...i think we don't promote ourselves partly because that's not what we have been encouraged to do, our whole life! and we fear rejection...i know that to be true for me. i am finally comfortable calling myself an artist, i even ordered some business cards that say "mixed media artist" under my name. YAY! and doing this craft fair...huge for me, big's all part of the journey, isn't it?
    love ya...

  6. Hey there! I just found you via Studio JRU and I wanted to say 'hi.'

    I can totally relate to your post today. I had always dreamed of being a paid artist, but my family wanted me to have a 'back up career.' Well, that led to my education and a complete halt to my art. Needless to say, I still get the 'your so talented' speech from family and friends, but that doesn't translate into self confidence since I had no formal education in art. . .just tons of art classes as a child and a brief 'focus' in H.S.

    However, things have changed. My daughter died this past March, and her life (her gift to me) was my final inspiration. I began seeing the world through God's gifts to me. He created me to be creative, and I allowed all kinds of outside influence to steer me in the wrong or a 'safer' direction. I am still not the 'artist' I believed I would grow up and be someday ~ but I am an artist. I am selling my work and getting my small business up slowly (while pregnant again) has not been easy. I finally realized that life is too darn short, so why not do what I have always dreamed of.

    I still have a hard time calling myself an 'artist' but I keep saying it hoping that some day it will finally sink in and other people will identify me as one. I may not be rich or famous ~ but I am passionate and driven to work in my medium. And really ~ that is all I can ask for.

    If you want to visit my little store go to and see the gallery page.

    If you have a sibling, you are called a sister. If you follow Jesus, you are called a Christian. If you are married, you are called a wife. If you have a child, you are called a mother. If you have a talent, why can't we be called 'artist'?

  7. Jill ~ I so, so, so connect with this post! Yes, my work is so deeply personal. Yes, it does feel like an extension of my heart, and I don't have an art (or writing, photography, seminary) degree, and I don't have a studio. Yes all of that ~ but bit-by-ever-loving-bit, we are sharing it, aren't we? Brave steps, girl! I wish I could come to one of your workshops!!!
    Love & grace,

  8. As I can see in the other comments... so many of us feel this very same way. Self promotion has been one of the biggest things I have struggled with for years. My blog has finally given me a chance to put my art 'out there'. I have heard hurtful comments in the past about me not having 'a real' job and so on. It is like people think I sit at home watching tv all day and eating bon bons or something! :) Those comments seem to say with me and make it more difficult to be 'an artist'. I would LOVE to be able to take one of you workshops... I am sure they are SO much fun!
    ♥ Jennifer

  9. Jill, you can count me in that "closet" artist category. Is it because I do not know how it will be received? I quickly say "mother" because most times I have my 4 year old with me but also because in my sphere of influence I have been made to feel bad that MOTHERHOOD does not COMPLETELY comsume me.

  10. it feels very hard to self-promote. i agree.
    i know a few people who so OVER do it, and are such a turn off. but there is a happy medium there. and i hope we find it! :)

  11. I know it's hard for me to self-promote because I was always taught to be so modest! When a value like that has been instilled in you, it's hard to overcome it even for the right reasons (job interviews, anyone?). I think Gina is right too, it also has to do with rejection.

    Great post!

  12. Wow -- you really hit a big nerve with this post. Although I draw, I think my real passion is writing, but it is very difficult for me to call myself a writer. But, recently, I have been asked by God to lay down one of my paying jobs to do more of the writing He has called me to do. It may not pay monetarily, but I just know it will where it really matters. I am SO glad you are going to join in on Tuesdays!!

  13. Jill--your post hit home with a lot of us. I have so much fear showing my work. Maybe because it's so personal. Blogging has help me overcome that fear. I'm right there with you on not self promoting. I heard somewhere a seasoned artist said that no one is going to "discover" you. You have to sell your story and your art. I think about that a lot. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Don't resist the urge to keep quiet. Your art is beautiful and you are inspiring others with your art! I truly enjoyed the workshop earlier in October. Looking forward to going to another one in late November. If you weren't promoting your work, I wouldn't know about you! It is your gift from God, Jill. If you didn't share it with others, you wouldn't be sharing God with the world!

  15. I know this post is old, but I just came across it and something in it made me breathe a little deeper and smile. Thank you.