I have no idea. What I may not necessarily like about myself, I've learned to accept and use to my advantage in art. I am insubordinate and rebellious as hell and tried for years to get rid of it. The first words I used had to do with rebelling. Also, I've been painting, drawing or creating since I was in diapers, my first complete sentence had to do with something about art. The two are as much a part of me as my eye color.
I've been a professional artist for 20 years and know well the "rules" applicable to art-- and CHOOSE to break them and break them often. This doesn't go with their vision of what art should be (a random sampling of safe "Corporate Art" that looks great in libraries, public facilities, hard to decorate hallways or over couches.)
Here's a hint: real art isn't copied from a photo, unless the pic is mixed with other elements to convey something. Real artists who are making the real art also communicate (a concept, mood, social issue, secret wish) with their art, too, or push a limit that has been too-long-enmeshed in our culture. Sad truth is that real artists will have to stifle themselves to be found in outwardly criticizing/inwardly complacent galleries, and will usually be shunned.
We stand out like sore thumbs, which is a good thing. Whats happened to us is that we got so good early in our lives that we got bored and moved on into challenging realms.
If you're not being shunned for something, you're doing it wrong. Whether its your subject matter, how your shadows fall across a wall or how its framed or isn't, get some kind of criticism and then be ballsy enough to either ignore it and/or make art out of the criticism. Its like a ladder: make one thing, take inspiration from their reactions and make another piece. Paint the cool stuff that happens in between, too: there is no such thing as a dry spell or artists' block when you do this.
Respect. I can't listen to someone I don't respect about a subject that is close to me if they aren't more experienced in the direction in which I want to grow. Talent, I've got. Talent and being good at what you do is the easy part. Being professional is also easy as hell.
Courage. Where this inclination comes from is that I don't believe in authority figures (usually toe-the-line-traditionalists) and the world is full of those who think they are exactly that just because they can follow rules to a T. You've met them, the bossy ones who think they know it all, when in reality they're just talented hobbyists... playing around after retirement with no real blood, sweat, or tears translated into gutsy emotional investment for the world to see. They feel proud to have sold a piece or two without risking a damn thing and have stayed comfortable their whole lives.
I'm interested in the hard stuff that makes me grow; I don't stay safe and would consider myself generally weak minded or insecure if I did. What helps this along from both a very personal and universal concept, this subject hits my rebellious streak where I get much of my best and highest selling pieces of inspiration. A message to "them": Bring it. I've been talented as long as I've had breath, so I'll paint my expressions of the situations you create (that everyone relates to at some point) and then make money off situations your criticism created.
The reality of me not staying safe scares the shit out of traditionalists. I love it. This is how I play. Playing is risk, you have to show vulnerability to play and have fun at what you do. Remember? Lets see what this does, lets see what that does. Just watch a toddler with his mashed potatoes, you'll see. These other people had been harshly criticized for playing and lost the wonder and thrill of sating curiosity in the name of fun, so if their pictures aren't planned from beginning to end, they can't handle it.
Here's both support and permission: Play. Be spontaneous a little. Then a little more. Say something inadequate. Have the hard conversations. Be vulnerable, then suck it up and put it on canvas, sculpture, music, or poetry. Take the consequences afterwards, too. You can handle it and you'll relate to someone who didn't know they wanted to say the exact same thing and they'll probably buy it, too. You just gave the voiceless a megaphone. Now, how good does that feel??
I know this, my toughest pieces to show were the ones sold first time off the chain and the ones who bought them usually cried in relief and happiness.
Personal Investment. Unless someone has the cajones to invest their internal landscape into the one they've portrayed from their self-taken photograph, I won't listen because I know I've got the guts to be real and they don't. Some people are strictly business people who have some talent, but they aren't risking anything. Any monkey can learn to paint a picture, but can they put their personal perspective into it?
Pretty. Sure I do pretty, but I can't respect pretty unless its genuine, and when they paint pretty to hang in the city hall or for your money, its not genuine. Sure, the world is full of pretty, but what are you conveying with it? I'm not saying all pretty art is inauthentic because I also paint beauty when I feel beauty-- but how many of us feel beauty all the time? Not any of us. Art is supposed to reflect life!
Lets get real here, including art, by showing the totality of who we are. Nostalgic, romantic, dark, moody, conceptual, sweet composition pushing design... know thyself, bogus art making money chasers, and then paint the reality of that. Better yet, I'll paint you, at least I've got the guts.
Well, its safe to assume that if told to do something, the answer is generally no. I don't bow to anyone, but will bend when I want to. And right now, I don't :)
Jesus, Ghandi, Monet, Renoir. Everyone that mattered in history had the balls to buck the established system. Think about that.