Thess vs Self-Deprecation
Just read a post that is a little too long to add this via reblog and still keep everything, but the gist is the varying and sundry reasons that people who post their art are intensely deprecating of their own work, and the reasons they shouldn’t be.
One thing that was never touched on: THE WORLD TRAINS US TO BE THAT WAY.
For one thing … it’s art. Our parents, teachers and everyone else tells us not to get particularly serious about drawing unless it’s architecture or something that they consider ‘safe’. Encourage a budding artist, musician, writer, whatever and … what, you’re sending a kid out with a 95% chance of failure, or so parents see it. They want to protect their kids from ‘learning that lesson’ too late and essentially dismissing the talents we display in the artistic pursuits with a dismissive “That’s nice, dear”. Tell them we want to be writers, actors, musicians, artists and we’ll get anything from “Fine, but study something serious for when that falls through …if, I mean; IF that falls through” to “Get a real dream”. If we get high marks in art or music or drama, and average marks elsewhere, the arts marks don’t even get brought into the discussion unless it’s to say, “If your real work is suffering, maybe we should talk about you dropping those electives”. Right from the start, the people whose praise matters most sideline our dreams and encourage us to think about these things as not important. That often leads us to believe that we have no talent in that area; if we had talent, REAL talent, then people would encourage us to go for it because to do otherwise would be a waste, right? TV tells us so.
But we’re not stupid. We suspect that we have talent (usually because we do). Those of us who keep drawing or writing or dancing, those who keep showing those talents to the world … they haven’t let go of the dream yet because something inside them acknowledges that talent. And that’s amazing. Anyone who posts their art at ALL amazes me, because they’ve fought through that part of it, the part where people tell them to give up their dreams and settle down into some boring thing that doesn’t speak to their souls without so much as a look back at the time when they created beauty.
Then comes the other problem: the modesty thing. Nathanael Emmons wrote “Make no display of your talents or attainments; for every one will clearly see, admire, and acknowledge them, so long as you cover them with the beautiful veil of modesty”. Religious texts bring out the saws about “the meek shall inherit the earth” (or, in some cases, have the gods turn the prideful into spiders or something). Our parents tell us to be modest, not to sound full of ourselves, not to brag; it’s not polite. So here the artist sits, agonising over whether to post at all, because it’s not like art MATTERS or anything, and who’s really going to like it, hmm? But they get the courage to post it; their talent demands it of them. But they can’t say, “I really liked this one because of—” because that’s immodest. Even posting it without comment at all might make the artist seem full of themselves, and the very act of displaying artwork, we’re taught, demands explanation - how COULD you display this unrealistic dream to the world? So you can’t say something nice, you can’t just say ‘here’s what I drew’ because it calls unnecessary attention to yourself, you can’t say anything at all…
So what’s left but saying you’re not proud of it, that it’s awful, that you don’t know why you’re even posting it? At best, people disagree with your assessment of the work. At worst, you’ve said it yourself before someone else has a chance to hurt you with it.
To the artists and the writers and the everybody: I’m proud of you. I don’t care if it’s stick figures; I am proud of you and I thank you for sharing. You go ahead and say that what you drew is awful if you need to - I just hope you don’t mind if I ignore it in favour of the core message delivered by you sharing your work at all. You know, the very basic message of “I am posting this because somewhere, beyond all the rules about modesty and the discouragement and the self-deprecating tendency that’s been beaten into me for more or less ever, I have seen something to be proud of in this”. Even if you never say what it is, it’s got to be there.
(This mini-rant brought to you by a horrible sick migraine but if I lie in front of the TV anymore I’m going to grow moss.)
Journalist Adam Welz blows the lid off of how major US TV networks are depicting killing animals for profit. Wolves, grizzly bears, lynx cats, and other animals are being trapped, shot with AK-47s, and painted as dangerous threats on national networks NatGeo, Discovery, and other “reality TV” shows. Click through for more.
There is a storm brewing.