A very exciting week as I prepare to go to my annual illustrators conference; Illuxcon.
I’ve been organizing my work, getting things printed out, double checking said prints, and generally having butterflies all up in the stomach. Good butterflies though, the kind you get when you know you’re going to see a dear friend. In my case, it’s not one but dozens of friends that I usually only see once a year.
This will be my third year in a row attending the conference, and like so many other things in life it just gets easier and easier to go with each passing year. I remember the first year I was a nervous ball of energy, not knowing who to talk to or what to do. Thankfully I was in good company, and my natural enthusiasm for the visual arts carried me through the week. I met a lot of amazing artists and had some wonderful conversations. Most importantly, I made some very good friends.
Illuxcon is unique because it’s half conference, half art gallery. There are classes to attend and talks to hear, but there are also dozens of top-tier artists who have their work on display. The focus of Illuxcon is fine art, so you get to walk around and spend the afternoon looking at all these wonderful paintings and sculptures. To make the deal even sweeter, the artist him or herself is always right there next to their work, so you get a chance to react and have a conversation on the spot with the creator. I know the logistics would be impossible but it would be wonderful to do that at every museum!
Confidence plays a strange role in all of this.
I remember many years ago, being confronted at various points by other artists and feeling defensive, unnerved on some level. What if they’re better than me? I thought.
Well so what if they are? Better in what way? By whose estimation? Of what consequence is this comparison?
Being a little older and (hopefully) a little wiser, I have the ability to look at other artists work and be filled with appreciation for what I’m seeing. Art, even commercial art, is deeply personal. It is a snapshot of who we are at the time of creation, an inevitable self-portrait. When we create something that lives on, separate from our minds, it does take on an energy of it’s own, but the intimacy of the creative connection remains.
With this understanding, I’m able to more accurately appreciate what I’m seeing, a life in progress. My stuff will never look like their stuff, and that’s a very good thing. Each of our lives are our own; I would never want to surrender my personal story for that of another. I don’t believe the point is to be more beautiful, more clever, more powerful. I believe the point is to simply be.
I look forward to seeing the next step in everyone's personal stories.