Today, I want to have a heart-to-heart with you about something I believe is crucial for anyone embarking on an artistic journey or seeking to elevate their existing career. It’s the pervasive notion that we must wait around for validation, and I’m here to tell you why that’s not only unnecessary but also counterproductive.

Let me share a personal experience that might resonate with some of you. A few years into my art career, I was making a living from my craft alongside my wife Klee. We weren’t exactly raking in millions, but we were paying the bills and pursuing our passion. Then, out of the blue, a gallery approached me. It seemed like an opportunity to validate myself as an artist, a chance to be taken seriously.

The funny thing is, I had already been an artist for three years, showcasing my work and building a collector base. Yet, there was this lingering belief that being in a gallery would somehow validate me further. So, I joined the gallery, thinking it would be a great learning experience.

However, after six months in that environment, I realized it wasn’t what I had expected. Instead of enriching my creative journey, it felt corporate and drained my time. Meetings, gallery requirements, and an unpleasant encounter with an arrogant fellow artist made me question my decision. It was like I had gone full circle, entering the corporate world I had initially sought to escape.

My breaking point came when I stood up to that arrogant artist, who believed in the corporate hierarchy. I realized I didn’t need to be arguing with such individuals. I had a business to run, YouTube videos to make, and art to create. Leaving that gallery turned out to be the best decision I ever made.

Don’t Wait Around For Validation As An Artist

Now, my intention isn’t to demonize galleries, as I’ve had positive experiences with them too. Instead, I want to emphasize the danger of seeking validation from external sources. It’s a pattern that extends beyond galleries, permeating many aspects of our lives.

In our society, we often find ourselves waiting to be chosen, validated, or approved by others. When you apply for a job, you’re jumping through hoops to prove your worthiness, hoping someone will pick you. Similarly, in the art world, we crave validation from galleries, awards, or representation, as if those are the only markers of success.

But here’s the truth: you have tremendous creative power, and you don’t need anyone’s validation. You don’t have to beg anyone to notice you, to say, “Hey, look at me, I’m an artist, validate me!” You are an artist because you create art, because it’s who you are, and it’s up to you to embrace that identity.

Question the status quo, challenge your own insecurities, and trust yourself to move forward. You might encounter people who discourage you or suggest that you can’t just do something without external validation. Ignore the naysayers, because they don’t define your path.

Your art career is an ever-evolving journey, and you are the ultimate authority on your life and your artwork. Trust yourself, but also question your motives. Are you doing this for fame, validation, or to be taken seriously? If so, you might be on the wrong track.

So, let’s break free from this cycle of seeking validation and choose to be the artists we are. Don’t wait for someone else to put that title on you. Embrace your creative power, trust yourself, and ignore the doubters. Remember, you have the ability to shape your artistic destiny.

I hope you found these thoughts food for contemplation. I appreciate each and every one of you. Until next week, adios!

2 thoughts on “Don’t Wait for Validation

  1. Your whole message describes the struggle I’ve been going through every day as I work towards transitioning my career to an art business. You call it the stick man, and while he’s shrinking on the idea of doing my first pop up event, I know he’ll be back for other things. It’s a constant struggle and I know it’s just scared me trying to protect myself.

  2. You are so right, Rafi. I’ve spent my whole life thinking I should be following rules and kowtowing to the “people in charge” before I’ll get anywhere with my art (and my life!). But earlier this year I experienced a little bit of thinking magic that put me in charge and no way am I going to give up that freedom to create anyway I choose, at the pace that’s right for me. I don’t want to be validated by other people, I want to validate myself… and I’ve never enjoyed painting as much as I do now.

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