As the art world begins to open up again, it is time to think about your place within it.
If that suggestion makes you squirm, you are not alone. The introverts among us may be bidding a sad farewell to 2020, when it was possible to hide out without apology. The artist Nancy Nichols calls this phenomenon “pandemic withdrawal” and I think it is a real thing. If you have put your art career on hold in the last year, use this transition to consider the doors you might be ready to open, both within yourself and out into the world.
I like the image of a swinging door because it moves in two directions. When you open doors within yourself you create momentum that can help you break free. Internal doors can be the hardest to open, because your personal demons lurk behind them. Sometimes you find resentments and insecurities behind the door. Sometimes there are discouraging voices from the past, or even real trauma. Always there are fears—fears of success and fears of failure.
Closed doors are most frightening because they represent the unknown. Gently push that door open and see what you find. Give your fears a name and even a face, so that you can stare them down. You may be surprised to discover that you’re stronger, more resilient now and ready to take risks.
Let the rhythm of the swinging door move you out. You already know the steps you want to take, since they are alive in your mind or written on notes that you’ve kept for years. Gradually leave your nest and make your way into the new art world, which has never been so diverse and dynamic, so open to new ideas and new voices, like your own.
Mary Edwards, Ph.D
Career & Life Coach for Artists
“Left Brain Skills for Right Brained People”
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As an artist coach, I bring a unique combination of business knowledge, art world experience, and professional coaching skill to my practice.