The Artist’s Struggle with Self Confidence


Artists struggle with self-confidence all the time. Do you?

Seriously, as an artist, you are always putting the most personal, the most vulnerable, the most subjective parts of yourself forward.

Everybody has an opinion about your work, right? And everybody thinks they know better.

It’s easy to listen to them. It’s certainly much easier than keeping the faith, isn’t it?

I know a photographer who recently showed his work to an editor. And the editor advised this poor photographer to become a plumber.

Seriously, that’s what he said. You should become a plumber.

The photographer was devasted. Never mind that. He has shot covers for nearly every fashion magazine and newspaper in London.

Never mind his education, his years of apprenticeship, his gallery shows in the art world. One thoughtless comment brought him to his knees. And as artists, we are all vulnerable.

After working with artists throughout my career, I’ve seen it in situations like this, and the fear of situations like this that stop us from realizing our full potential.

We don’t want to do the work of putting ourselves out there. Use whatever excuse you want. I don’t have the time. I hate social media. I’m not organized enough.

The fact is that most artists don’t properly invest their energy into marketing their business because they’re afraid. And I get it. I’m afraid too.  I put my own stuff out there. I put these videos out there. I’ve experienced backlash. Who do you think you are?

It sucks. But I have a rule. I don’t allow other people to stop me. This is my life. This is my work. Other people’s opinions will be considered. Thank you very much. But I’ll only take what’s helpful and then I move on.

It’s the same for you. This is your life. This is your work. Keep taking the steps toward your dreams.

But sometimes it’s not the criticism from outside ourselves that stops us. It’s the stuff we’ve swallowed, but now lives inside.

If this describes you, if you’re getting in your own way, here’s a little practice that I advise.

Every day before you start working on your business and marketing and organization, you know the stuff that you really don’t like doing, those tasks that you are always putting off, that you wish someone else would do for you. Those things that scare you a little bit because you just don’t like putting yourself out there. Take a minute to do this ritual before you start.

Breathe. Because they always tell you to breathe. And then connect with that part of yourself that makes art. Connect with your creativity. That part that flows.

Find that voice inside of you that insists you must be an artist. And from here, from this place of your greatest strength and your true self. I want you to write down three reasons why you will succeed as an artist or why you will succeed in accomplishing your next professional goal.

These three reasons can be simple, or they can be complex. It doesn’t matter. They’re yours. But once you’ve got them down, create an affirmation.

I am. I am a working artist.

Not, I wish. Not please, God, help me too. But I am. And then finish that sentence with your goal or your dream.

“I am an exhibiting artist who sells work consistently. I am building a collector base. I am having a solo exhibition. I am respected for my work. I am attracting opportunities. I am a pro at social media and promotion.”

Okay, now you’re ready to undertake your marketing tasks. Feel the difference this small step makes. It just takes one minute, but it changes everything.

So find a place of connection with your work, with your creativity. Write down three reasons why you attain your goal that day, and then create an affirmation that posits your ultimate vision for yourself.

Go do it. I’m telling you, this works.


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Working in the international world of contemporary art, Crista Cloutier has spent her career selling art and marketing art to art galleries, museums and private collections. 

Using her professional experiences, Crista has created The Working Artist Masterclass, where she’s developed a global reputation as an artist’s coach. Crista can teach you how to be an artist; including how to sell your art, how to sell art online, how to sell photographs, how to price your art, how to succeed at art fairs, and even how to find your art style. 

Crista has worked with established, blue-chip artists to raise their profile and attract greater opportunities. And she’s also helped thousands of emerging artists to build a professional art practice. To learn more, visit https://theworkingartist.com

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