The Michelle and Sharon Show!

I was joined this week by my dear friend Sharon. She has just finished her biggest exhibition to date – The Collect Open, at Somerset House in London. We spoke to Sharon a few weeks ago in the run-up to the event.

If you missed this chat, you can find it here. Join us as we get the full debrief from Sharon on the aftermath of the Collect Open.

You can listen to our whole conversation as we go over the Collect Open and discuss the impact that art has, the importance of understanding your own process as an artist and how you have to be in it for the long game. You can watch, listen or read this week’s vlogcast.

The impact of art

I talk a lot about the impact of art, the impact it’s had on me personally and that sometimes I just don’t feel like there are words to explain, and I really tune into what other people are saying about the transformation that art can have. Art really does have this ability for you to understand yourself by working through the art process.

When people have a focus on the output of art in the physical sense and get hung up on the end results, it can block part of the creative process. But when you just go with the flow and explore, this is the part of art making that is so powerful. It’s more than getting a berry to look perfect or an ear in the right place. It’s about you using art to find your own voice. To really understand why you feel the way that you do.

Understanding your own process

By understanding your own process, your own internal dialogue – the voice that is sitting inside of you as a creative being – you can start to pick out your intentions with your art. But this can only be done by exploring the art making process and learning what your true intentions are.

There are so many voices out there. All of those that have the same need to create as creative beings, and art can be the microphone that talks to the world.

As artists, we can be really great at making sense of the world around us and using art to question beliefs or ideas that are being fed to us. By understanding this and finding our true intentions, art is so powerful and meaningful.

The long game

Sharon and I had a fascinating chat about this topic and how becoming an artist and finding your process and the impact of each individual voice is so important. Sharon also mentioned that as an artist you have to be in it for the long game and this is so true and sometimes I think when we get caught up in the nitty-gritty we can forget this.

So, let’s take Sharon and Collect Open as an example. Sharon didn’t go there with the intention to sell her collaborative pieces. The purpose of this project was all around provoking a conversation and raising her profile.

Collect is one of the most prestigious art fairs in Europe so it’s a great way to start making connections in upper levels to progress with your art. However, this is often the long game. You have to keep chipping away at it and a connection you made a year ago, two years ago, 10 years ago may resurface and be the key that you are looking for.

Attending shows and creating these connections can sometimes be expensive and you may not always sell work to pay for that expense directly, but sometimes the long game is worth this investment and it is so important to remind yourself of that.

Like Sharon shared with us, after Collect Open she was on a little downer. The hype was over, the excitement, the lead up was gone. The show had cost thousands of pounds and no sales were made there. However, after some reflection, Sharon reminded herself that it wasn’t about the sales, it was about the conversations that these pieces of art created, along with the connections that follow from attending such a high end art fair and the confidence it can bring. In the words of my amazing friend – “you have to be in it for the long game”.

So, I guess what we are saying is that art is so powerful and finding your own process with your art, learning your intentions and knowing you are in it for the long game are all part of the process of being an artist. Your voice, your art is powerful.