When artists deal with the world outside their studios, they are often called upon to state their needs, assert their rights, and sometimes to confront unfair actions by galleries, organizers, or clients. Most of us don’t have agents or employees to handle these situations for us, and so we need to handle them on our own. To be effective, you need to be confident and straight-forward with the discussion. But instead, your personality may cause you to feel shy, socially awkward, or less than confident when you need to be self-assertive. Today’s episode is for those of you who struggle with confrontation and self-assertion in your dealings with the art world.
Being self-assertive is complex for many people. You may fear coming across as someone who is belligerent or aggressive, but also recognize that standing up for yourself is necessary to avoid negative situations in which you are taken advantage of. But stating your needs or bringing up problems is not the same as attacking someone or inviting negative conflict.
You can work on being more assertive when the situation is something that has built up, and you can anticipate the moment when you speak up. In those cases you can organize your thoughts, process the problem with a friend, or write out your main points. But other times you’re blindsided by remarks or actions and fail to react in the moment. In those cases, the best thing is to forgive yourself for not responding well and to learn what you can from it. This may happen more often as you become increasingly public with your work and deal in more complex ways with the gallery world and other business situations.
Difficulty with self-assertion is a personality trait that is quite deeply ingrained and the reasons people have this problem is beyond the scope of our remarks. But not standing up for yourself can interfere with professional behavior and being able to move out of toxic situations. Understanding your own boundaries and developing ways of speaking that are clear and confident are strategies that are worth practicing.
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What's new at Cold Wax Academy?
Rebecca and Jerry have just announced their topics for Fall Quarter which begins October 12. With a special focus on member participation, they are planning a couple of new features--one will be online mentoring to help with issues in creative practices, and one session this quarter will be devoted to members tracking their painting progress over the past year. The quarterly member critique and a painting clinic for works in progress will also be featured, along with further information on professional development. You can sign up for one of two membership levels at any time, and catch up on the past two years of recorded weekly sessions at your own pace.
Please visit http://www.coldwaxacademy.com for more information.
Also-- stay tuned for information coming soon about Rebecca and Jerry's newest project, Espacio, dedicated to providing beautiful living and working spaces for artists and writers. Espacio's first offering is Casa Clavel, a modern, fully equipped house opening this September in the beautiful cultural city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. You can learn more and make a reservation by emailing [email protected]. A dedicated Espacio website is coming soon!
Here is what a member named Sandy has to say about her own experience with Cold Wax Academy:
"Rebecca and Jerry have presented the most professional, authentic and structured approach to a creative activity I have ever come across. Their selfless sharing of all their knowledge and encouragement is a gift in my life unsurpassed."
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