Author Topic: Show work? Keep it to yourself? When is sth "good enough"?  (Read 2649 times)

Offline tintenfuchs

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Show work? Keep it to yourself? When is sth "good enough"?
« on: January 29, 2014, 08:19:39 AM »
I wanted to talk about something Barbara Calzolari mentioned at her workshop, a point that is well worth discussing. She said that she wouldn't recommend showing your things to anyone until you're really, really good. The internet is unforgiving, what's out there stays out there and you can't take it back and will probably ashamed of it later.

However, I dare to disagree with her ... for me, getting feedback from others is a valuable asset to judging my progress and it also motivates me. When I look at my stuff from a couple of weeks ago I notice progress and I know I have a long way to go until I can think of myself as "really good". BUT here's the point: I want to show my stuff and get feedback. I want to start selling stuff. Having assignments jump-starts my synapses. It makes me want to improve. It has always been this way with me. I really don't like my current job, so I cut back to 30h/week in order to use some time for practice and trying to make some money off it.

What do you think? Are you ever good enough? Should you show your work, sell your work or keep working in private until you get the feeling that you're good enough?
Natascha
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Online Erica McPhee

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Re: Show work? Keep it to yourself? When is sth "good enough"?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2014, 10:25:04 AM »
Interesting! ... I understand exactly what she is saying. So if someone pins some of your earlier work, it's out there in the Internet World forever representing you.

But ... on the other hand ... when do we judge ourselves as "really good" without anyone else seeing our work?

I'm kind of on the fence about that. We all continually improve. What I did as "professional" work 10 years ago, I cringe at today. But if I hadn't posted it online then, I wouldn't have had a business! So I believe she must be talking about complete beginners. Which even still, how does one improve in a vacuum?

Also, I don't like the idea of the intimidation of being a beginner frighten anyone out of wanting to share. The reality is, many people are doing calligraphy without anyone else in their immediate area to share it with - no guild, no teacher, no other artists, etc.

Funny - I was just getting ready to post my very first calligraphy works on the forum. And I did hesitate because I thought of this exact same thing. However, ego is always a stumbling block to progress.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 10:27:21 AM by Erica McPhee »
Truly, Erica
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Offline Perfectsettings

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Re: Show work? Keep it to yourself? When is sth "good enough"?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2014, 01:55:46 PM »
Ha!  I just replied to your "first work" thread.  My philosophy is everyone has to start somewhere.  *shrug*  I wouldn't be "happy" with some pics of my first works - of ANYTHING - but truthfully, when you see, say, Oprah or Martha in their early work, the first thing that comes to mind; wow they were good even back then...
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Offline schin

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Re: Show work? Keep it to yourself? When is sth "good enough"?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2014, 03:25:25 PM »
As an illustrator, I first posted my art on the internet (remember geocities?) in 2002 and they were horrendous! These horrible paintings with my name on them are still out there but they do not in any way represent me today. I have since progressed so much that my work today and then are completely different, and it is very obvious that I have changed paths in those 12 years. We will all improve in time, and any business will continue improving and updating itself and the clients should understand that too.

Only you can dictate what represents you, and I think a professional website, a portfolio of stuff YOU picked and a business card that reflects what you want to represent is enough. Just remove the old work! Sure, once in awhile one of those old paintings come back to haunt me and someone will say 'Oh I loved those 2003 paintings you did, will you do one now?' I just say 'I'm sorry but I just don't do those anymore.' Simple as pie!

I guess what she meant is that an unknown person with an amazing portfolio who appeared out of nowhere can make a much more dramatic debut on the internet! It is not as much fun to follow the progress of someone you know for years. But the Internet is such a great resource that beginners should post whatever they want as long as long as they know it will be on there forever. And I think it is very fun to be able to post a very old work next to the latest one so others can see the progress. That little trace of history can be quite inspiring!
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Offline dreamingkathleen

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Re: Show work? Keep it to yourself? When is sth "good enough"?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2014, 04:46:54 PM »
I'm going to respectfully disagree with her. And…I have strong feelings about this so be forewarned!

I am a graphic design student and a huge perfectionist. I have a good sense of design and can look at my current work and be very dissatisfied with it. However, I am not going to let that hold me back. I started a 365 project this year to force myself to produce work constantly and share it. If I did not have the project I would probably not be doing the work, to be honest. It's very motivating for me.

I don't see the internet as unforgiving as Barbara says. I have not received criticism for my work, but rather encouragement. If anything my own self criticism is more than anything other people can throw at me. I'd say that imperfect work is still art and can be more interesting than perfect calligraphy to the average eye. Actually, I find imperfections beautiful.

Great artists like Picasso had early work too as everyone has to start somewhere. And it is still celebrated. I went to the Picasso museum in Barcelona and it focused on his early work…it had drawings from when he was 12 and showed his development. Nobody looked at his early sketches and said, "No no, this is not museum worthy, this is nothing!" because everyone knows who he grew to become. Seeing his process was amazing, something I will never forget. The idea that we should start in dark caves keeping everything to ourselves and not emerge until we have completed a masterpiece is so…backwards.

I think that in this fast-paced world, it's important to start building a platform as soon as possible! Austin Kleon talks about this in his book "Show Your Work" (which I have not read because it's not out yet, but I have read interviews about, ha). He basically says to share your process because people love seeing the juicy messy details of creative work.

So, my two cents.

Kathleen
"Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle."

my 2014 Lettering Project.

Offline ewigginton

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Re: Show work? Keep it to yourself? When is sth "good enough"?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2014, 05:14:16 PM »
Wishing I had a "LIKE" button to push for Kathleen's post.  :)

Offline dreamingkathleen

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Re: Show work? Keep it to yourself? When is sth "good enough"?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2014, 09:00:55 PM »
Ha! Glad you liked, Ellen.
"Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle."

my 2014 Lettering Project.

Online Erica McPhee

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Re: Show work? Keep it to yourself? When is sth "good enough"?
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2014, 09:11:52 PM »
Yes! I enjoyed reading all of your perspectives! Such good thoughts.  :D
Truly, Erica
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Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Show work? Keep it to yourself? When is sth "good enough"?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2014, 03:44:59 AM »
Yes, kathleen! You're so right. I also think that looking at other people's progress is tremendously helpful and it always encourages me to keep going.
Natascha
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