All artists are a product of their environment. Because often, art reflects life and people create what they’re familiar with. If you grow up living near the ocean, it’s likely that you will have spent more time drawing oceanic images over woodland creatures, since you have great visual aides right outside your window.
It’s really not surprising that your family and friends, no matter how wonderful they may be, can have an effect on your art and what you can ultimately create. However, if you’re longing to become a successful artist you need to be able to find your own space in order to come into your own talent and develop your career without prejudice.
In a typical citation, no one is going to tell you to cut all ties with your relatives, but if it turns out they are hindering your creative process it may be time to consider some other options. Taking into account your art and environment to determine if you are currently in the best possible situation for a creative mindset.
Not Finding Enough Support
Pablo Picasso famously said that “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” It’s likely that you, too, have faced some problems and challenges when you announced that you wanted to be an artist. Maybe even the people who were supportive of your talents when you were in elementary school are calling for you to grow up.
The good news is that being an artist is actually a real job. You can reassure all the naysayers that there are plenty of people who have worked hard developing their artistic skills and talents and are making good livings through only their art. The truth is though, that you are going to have to work really hard to achieve this same success.
If you’re not willing to work for it, find another career option that will make you happy. Otherwise, brush off the Negative Nelly’s and keep pushing through. If being an artist is important to you, then you can push past the naysayers and create your own success through hard work and determination.
It is highly unlikely that if you opt to go to art school that you will end up living in a cardboard box. (That empty threat has been used by parents for years.) At the end of your time in art school if you haven’t found a career in the art world you will not suddenly become unqualified for another job in the meantime. You can even have a decent apartment or a house if you so choose!
Not finding enough support can be detrimental to your creativity and your drive for success in the art field. Artistic expression requires time and effort, so don’t let anyone tell you that you’re lazy or are somehow letting them down with your chosen profession. If art makes you happy then following your passion cannot be wrong.
Your Family Is Too Supportive
On the flip side, you may find yourself surrounded by family members and loved ones who are too supportive? What does too supportive look like you may be wondering? It’s pretty simple. Ask yourself if there are people in your life who think even your roughest sketches are “so amazing.” If so, you may be the victim of too much support.
While having plenty of people pump you up doesn’t hurt the ego, it also doesn’t help you get better. You don’t want to go into a portfolio review or interview never hearing any constructive criticism. So yes, finding great support from your family can be nice, it just may not lead to the most honest feedback and could give you an unrealistic idea about your skills.
So don’t let your family’s support be “too much of a good thing.” It may be time to take all of the specific feedback from your fan club with a grain of salt. But it’s not just family that can give you overwhelmingly positive reviews, depending on your audience on social media your friends and fans can also be at fault.
If you often post your fan art and you rack in the likes, it may be more indicative of the fact that people like that particular fandom and not necessarily that you are the most technically proficient. While these supportive exchanges are great confidence boosters, you need to be sure that you remember that positive reactions are not always quality reactions.
An artist’s work is never done and you will always want to be improving. Assuming that you are always aiming to get better and grow you may have to go looking for a way to get more constructive advice on your work. Don’t ignore the overly supportive feedback, thank them kindly and keep your relationship strong. On hard days you’ll appreciate their kind words.
Seek Out Quality Feedback For Your Art
So if families can be both overly complementary and discouraging, in order to find the right balance and become a successful artist you will need to figure out a way to get the appropriate feedback. Learning how to give and receive constructive criticism is a skill that will help you no matter what path you eventually take.
You may have an artistic role model or someone you look up to, but if you don’t have a way to get in contact with them it can be difficult to get feedback from them. However, that’s the right idea, getting feedback on your artistic talents from those who have more experience than you can be a great way to learn and grow. Artists at any age can be in need of great feedback.
Good feedback should be both positive and negative. While harsh feedback isn’t helpful, that doesn’t mean that every review you get needs to be positive. If someone can help you discover a different artistic technique or skill you could improve upon. While you may be hard on yourself already, you can also find out what you’re doing well, and perhaps it’s not something you’ve noticed before.
As an artist, the best place to find other artists to give you feedback is by taking a class. Not only does that give you a chance to improve your skills but it can also be a great way of finding your own community of people who both understand what you’ve been working on and what goals you may have.
Moms are sweet but if they aren’t trained in figure drawing they won’t be able to help you get the shape and proportions of the hands perfected. Other artists and teachers can offer tips that can help you get better and improve as an artist. Professionals will also know how to ask you creative questions that will prompt your brain to work on new ways to inspire you.
Your Environment Matters
There are also ways that your environment can stunt your growth artistically and personally. For instance, if you’re currently living at home you may have other household responsibilities that could distract you during your creative hours. Parents are often guilty of not understanding how your time drawing is actually bettering your skills and is a good use of time.
When you’re crossing the bridge from art being a hobby to your career, you may need to consider getting your own space where you can live and work without added influences. This isn’t to say that if you have your own apartment that you can shirk your responsibilities like doing the dishes, but in your own space you can set a schedule that works for you.
Even when you’re at home you can be creative. Setting up a prime environment to create can propel you to greatness. Whether you schedule your time so you get your work done in the morning or you’re a night owl who prefers to create late into the day, having the freedom to create the way you want can inspire you to improve and grow as an artist.
You can receive inspiration from your environment in ways like having multiple workstations, for both standing or sitting desks, or however you prefer. Decorating your space with paint colors that are invigorating or relaxing, or hanging inspirational quotes or art. But the great myth of creativity is that you need to be somewhere specific.
So long as you feel safe, you can work and create art anywhere you want. Consider surrounding yourself with other artists and choosing those who understand your need to work when inspiration strikes. If your spouse or roommate does not understand what you need from your environment, you can figure out ways to find creative outlets.
You can find creative communes and intensive residential workshops that could be the jumpstart to your work process that you can attend. When you are able to fully immerse yourself in a creative environment you may be surprised by the artistic results.
Having an environment where you are able to completely focus on nothing but art for a time can be a great way to also get important feedback you crave. The challenges of your environment can stunt your creativity so if you need to find a different place to create from time to time, go for it.
A Final Thought
When posting your work on the internet for genuine feedback isn’t getting the results you need, remember you can always take classes to find the support you desire. Classes allow each individual to thrive and foster independent creative ideas while having an environment that is well suited to taking risks.
The challenges of your environment can affect your output as an artist and if your family is too supportive or not supportive enough that can also hinder your skills and creativity. There may never be a perfect place to create but you can certainly manipulate your surroundings to work for you in great ways.
Surrounding yourself with others who love art and learning in an environment with individuals who can help you grow can be the recipe for success you need. Remember that you will find yourself inspired when you focus on the environment you can control. If you can’t switch everything up, make the best of your situation! You can create art anywhere!