“Great to see you! What is it that you do again?”
It’s the dreaded question, and it comes up a lot this time of year. While visiting family and friends over the holidays, I often find myself tongue-tied trying to explain just what the heck it is that I “do.” I can explain my day job without a problem, which sometimes means that I omit my art life altogether in my answer. This is a wasted opportunity, (and it makes me depressed).
An informal survey of my artist friends emphasized that I’m not alone in my blubbering failure to communicate. Why is it so difficult for us to speak about our art-making to people who are not familiar with our jargon? I have some ideas, and I also think it’s an important issue for us to tackle. We should learn to discuss the artwork we create with clarity and without embarrassment.
Next time you’re faced with the question, go boldly into the abyss. Don’t shy away. Start with common ground, and keep trying. Then, share what works and what doesn’t with your fellow artists. I’ll post a follow-up to my efforts here, and I’d love your comments as well.
Good luck, and Happy Holidays.