Can an Introvert Succeed in the Art World?
If you had asked me what it takes to be a successful artist, my answer would have been simple: the ability to produce good art. I imagined that my life would consist solely of me working in my studio. Buyers would magically appear, buy art, and leave. This would somehow translate to group art shows and, eventually, a gallery. I would rarely have to leave my studio, and I would never have to schmooze. This belief was clearly absurd, but I bring it up to illustrate how idealized my image of being an artist was.
I realize the question of what it takes to be a successful artist is much more complicated. It’s not just about producing art. It’s also about putting myself out there again and again, knocking on ten doors before one opens, and accepting rejection as part of the process.
Had I known all this a year ago, my fear would have most likely gotten the better of me.
There is nothing else, besides the people in my life, I love more than making art. Art is what keeps me centered, makes my life meaningful, and helps me jump out of bed in the morning no matter what else is going on. But if I had known how much being an artist required me to stretch myself, I might have chosen a different career path—one that would have let me stay comfortably in the shallow end.
My mom used to tell me that even our dream jobs will have parts we don’t like but which we accept so we can do the parts we love. And I now know that if I want to be an artist, I have to accept the discomfort of being perpetually vulnerable, which is what showing my work to strangers entails.