Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Shadow Artist

I'm still reading the book The Artist's Way. Actually, I'm crunching through it quite slowly, but I think it's necessary for me. I just wanted to share a little tidbit.

She talks about the shadow artist, as opposed to and artist who's in the light. A shadow artist is someone who is artistic and creative but lacks the audacity to BE an artist. They are uncomfortable labeling themselves as such and can even be rather embarrassed because they view themselves as frauds. Surely someone is waiting just around the corner to point their finger and say "You're not a true artist! You're just faking it!".

I get this.

She also mentions how easy it is for shadow artists to give up their true calling to help what in their mind is the "true artist". I have done this so many times it's ridiculous! I relegate myself to the background helping with the mundane details because I'm afraid of putting myself out there. It's terrifying. So, I end up printing shipping labels, setting up chairs, running out for bug spray, etc. You get the picture. The mundane. Don't get me wrong, this stuff needs done and why not me? BUT, I'm missing the other side of the coin. I stop myself from stepping out and letting someone else deal with the banal details.

It doesn't help that I'm also uber conscientious and a major people pleaser. I'm better than I used to be, but I always have to remind myself to not worry about what other people think of me.

This is all to say that I'm ready. I'm doing a few exercises of putting myself out there, calling myself an artist and not explaining that I only do it part time and even less than that if my "real job" doesn't take up the weekend and when I'm not... blah blah blah. I must leave people completely confused.

So here it goes -

I'm an artist. I like to create. My main medium is photography, but I have a knack for a few other things as well that I'd like to cultivate. I will work on sharing more personal pieces that I have been reluctant to show as of yet. Not today, but I'll get there.


mme. bookling said...


You ARE an artist...no matter what you DO. You see the world as an artist does full-time, even if you actually do the creating part-time. You are taking things in all the time, even in the banal, you find a tree that captures your inspiration or the hue of the cashier's eye. Self-definition is everything, and I am happy to see you embracing it.

Linny Kenney Leather said...

This book is great, but talk about crunching through it...I started this book when I was 21 and I'm 29 now! I still haven't finished it.

I start and stop my morning pages all the time. Sometimes I think this blog can count as my pages, but I don't think it actually should. You should see how many of my journal entries start out saying, "Alright, I'm starting these morning pages again today. This time...."

Eeek. It's a toughie.

Melissa said...

Candace - Am I right in assuming that you either used to or still do battle with this so called shadow artist?

Linny - I KNOW! I have been awful at writing. This blog, journaling, letter writing! I am starting out slow and making my way forward though. I have been consistently writing a dear friend for a couple months now... have done roughly a journal entry every 2 days since starting this book, and have even managed to do a couple blog posts. BTW, on a side note, did you watch Jillian's little artist bio? How would you feel about something like that?