Blog / 2020 / How To Love Your Art #15: Introduce It to All Your Favorite People

May 1, 2020

Today’s episode of the “how to love your art” blog series pairs nicely with the last one about not letting jerks near your art.

If you really love your art, it’s okay for your family and friends to love it too.

The myth of the “real artist” whose loved ones never buy their art or support them financially is as silly as it is pervasive. Maybe there’s someone somewhere who sells art only to people who don’t like them, and maybe that somebody never befriends anyone who supports their art, but, if there is, that person should not be held up as a shining example of anything.

You are not imposing on your friends and family when you tell them about your art. Every artist’s community is made up of loved ones. This is true at the beginning of your career, and it will remain true if you like to like the people who like your art!

My guess is that your friends and family are mostly grown-ups who can say “no” to supporting you financially if they choose. It’s not your place to try to manage their emotions or to make your creativity smaller in order to help them to feel more comfortable around you. Instead, redirect that energy towards celebrating the people who do support you!

wallaby painting process

If accepting money from loved ones makes you feel weird, consider that the problem is not the source of the payment, but your feelings about money in general. This is a common issue in our capitalist society. Money is fickle. It can be used equally to promote good causes or fund organized crime, and it is also one of the main ways we show each other that something is valuable. If you’re not conflicted about money at all, you probably haven’t thought about it enough!

Wanting the validation of payment and wanting it “cleanly”—without any prior relationship to cloud the meaning of the money—is normal. It’s okay to want to be recognized for your labor!

In fact, that’s a big part of why I made this wallaby painting and all the other ones that are in my upcoming animal ABC book, a project for which I did a Kickstarter. As I talk about in this post from last summer, I decided to run a crowdfunding campaign mostly because I needed to feel connected to my audience. And it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that if I only accepted funding from people I didn’t know, I would have made $1000 instead of $11000.

two baby wallabies hugging, wildlife painting
Gwenn Seemel
W Is for Wallaby
2020
acrylic on panel
14 x 14 inches

The first names embedded in this image are Wade, Walker, Walter, Wanda, Wandile, Ward, Warren, Watson, Wayne, Wendall, Wendy, Wenzdae, Weshoyot, Wesley, Whitney, Willa, William, Willie-Millie, Willow, Winifred, Winston, Winter, Wojciech, Wolfgang, Wren, and Wyatt.

The original wallaby painting is for sale for $1500 plus shipping—see all currently available artworks. If you want prints or other pretty items with this image, check out my Redbubble shop!

wallaby art
detail of W Is for Wallaby

Here’s what I’ve been reading since my last alphabet book update:

  • No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

    Thunberg reminded me what it was like to be a kid hearing about global warming for the first time. Maybe if we could all recapture that childlike incredulity at humanity’s role in this disaster, we would save the world.

  • The Crying Book by Heather Christle

    I appreciated the flitting nature of this narrative and the way it gave me permission to really sink into the tearfulness of our COVID-19 culture. That said, the parenthood part of the story irritated me, probable because I started The Crying Book right after some idiots on social media questioned why I would mention my childfree status publicly since that can “come off as aggressive.” I am so tired of parents acting like beleaguered souls in need of validation. Parenthood is the dominant culture, appearing in the majority of art, writing, music, television, and everything—even the stuff that’s not about it all, including Christle’s book, which really is quite lovely.


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