Last weekend I dragged a film crew to the Scottsdale Arts Festival. The cameras followed me as I collected wisdom from exhibiting artists.
I wanted to capture the artists’ stories, learn tricks of the trade, get their insights into how this whole art fair thing works for them.
After all, sales at art fairs are exploding. More art is now being sold at art fairs than at bricks-and-mortar galleries.
I asked for consent to film our interviews. Everyone agreed, all were eager to share their knowledge and their web address so I could promote their work.
But one artist said NO.
Sure, he’d talk about art fairs, but there was no way he was going to let other artists see his work.
Why? Because other artists will steal his ideas.
I’ve seen this before.
When I first moved to England a few years ago, I found myself in a small town that was teeming with artists.
But there was no arts community. No exchange of resources and information. No conversations about ideas. No real connection amongst the local artists.
I endeavoured to change that, and organized a monthly meet up of artists – at the pub, naturally.
It was so cool! People reported feeling more connected. Not only to other artists, but to their own work.
Except for one artist.
She refused to even attend, stating, “Other artists will steal my ideas.”
This attitude always startles me because as artists, our art is our legacy.
If your work inspires another artist to create her own response to it, there is no greater achievement. Period.
Your art, your ideas, grow from influences – both inside and outside art. These are gifts you have received, so it's important to continue the cycle.
Because other artists are not your competition. Other artists are your professional colleagues.
Other artists are your warrior brothers and sisters on this unique path toward truth and beauty and meaning.
I believe that the more you help other artists to create and thrive, the more elevated your own work becomes in your community.
As an artist, you have so much to share. And when you share freely, when you open yourself up to giving, your supply of inspiration is endless.
So if you find yourself holding back from other artists, I urge you to resist that impulse.
Share your gifts and the world will present you with more.