My paintings have been in a few shows. I like it when my pieces are seen by others. Partly, I feel like I'm contributing something meaningful. The other part is that I can do my work, at my own pace, and I can put it on display and hope that it speaks for itself... I don't have to be there to explain it. It's a kind of way of saying... yes, I do work, here it is... I would rather be in the studio painting, thank you.
Opening receptions, while a festive occasion, are the culmination of a weeks' worth of anxiety for me. I know I'm not the only one... there are plenty of non-tbi artists who will drink to take the edge off. There are many of us who would really rather skip the whole thing, even if it means passing up stellar food and an opportunity to network. We just talk ourselves into it. Others go with the flow, and party.
"Hold True" 12x12", acrylic on canvas
I am decidedly, more hermit-like. Now more so than before the injury.
I've long had a fear of speaking in front of people. For example, when I was in the Air Force and getting a medal, I almost passed out. My knees were shaking. I had to tell myself to breathe. I was terrified of being in front of everyone. The thing is, I didn't even have to DO anything, just be there, shake hands, accept the medal, and salute (aka Shake, Take, Salute). Honestly, what's the worst thing that could happen? For some reason, I treat it like a traumatic event.
And now, here I am on the opening day of a group show, with a headache and quite a case of nerves. What am I going to wear? Who am I going to talk to? Will it be too loud (should I bring earplugs)? Will I make an ass out of myself for choosing the wrong words while talking to new people? Do I tell anyone about my injury?*
"Enchantment", 12x12, acrylic on canvas
It isn't a solo show, which is sort of a blessing. There will be other artists there that deserve attention. I am very happy about this, even though solo shows tend to look better on an artist's C.V.
The show is at 7. I plan on taking a nap in the afternoon, to help. Before I take my nap, I will decide on my clothing. When we go, I have my dear G with me.. he helps me tremendously. My injury is mentioned on my artist's statement.
How do you deal with shows? I guess it might be the same as any social function. Do you have specific strategies?
"Nothing Sweeter", 12x12, acrylic on canvas
*and that's quite a conversation.. By the way, I have a brain injury, that's why my words come out wrong and I'm having trouble listening because it's too loud in there... Because you can almost never toss "I have a brain injury" into a conversation without explaining to people why you are telling that to them.
Beautiful work! I feel exactly the same about speaking in public, and dealing with large crowds—especially the noise, which is my biggest sensitivity by far. I get so agitated I feel like I need to flee to get away from it, though that relates more to peripheral noise and is always manageable when I'm talking to someone else. I only need to get away from it when I'm standing or walking by myself and have nothing else to distract me, and then if I'm in a reception-type environment I just move to another part of the room.
Though I know from experience it's easier said than done, I'd say just take it slow, try to relax as best you can—and don't feel so self-conscious about mentioning your injury. I tell people all the time and because they're people that I feel comfortable enough to approach or be speaking to in the first place I never get a bad reaction and no one seems to be wondering why I'm bringing it up. If they've got the good sense to come see your lovely work I'm sure it'll be fine! Good luck and try to enjoy yourself!
Love your use of color! Your paintings are vibrant and happy! You have great talent, try to relax and enjoy the showing. Though, as mentioned already, thats alot easier said than done. I understand the public speaking anxiety well. I just finished several video speaking projects that I initially thought I could never complete, but I took a deep breath, calmed myself whenever I needed and got them all done, and they turned out well! You can do it, you have wonderful work to show! Best of Luck.
Brain and Angela,
Thank you so much for your support!
The night of the show went like this--
--last minute freaking out because I *thought* I had a certain type of shoe, but didn't, and now I have an outfit without shoes
---figured out new outfit.
--a calm kind of anxiety in the car on the way to the show, G assuring me that everything will be fine
--We walk in to the gallery at the opening time, and it's already crowded.
--have some food, drink some cider, look at art, talk to artists
--friends show up
--Everything is good.
I did have some problem conversing, putting words together, when I was speaking to another artist. The gallery was packed and there were a lot of conversations going on which made it hard for me to speak. I pushed on.
I did have to leave the gallery once, I began feeling overloaded.
All in all, I had fun. I will probably do it again, I just have to find a way to calm my nerves for the entire week before the opening. Yoga, perhaps? Figuring out my *whole* outfit beforehand. I swear, this injury is getting me more organized by the day.
CONGRATS!!! You have beautiful work, sooo glad it went well!
Lovely! Congrats from here as well! I'm still trying to figure out a relaxation regimen for myself, I don't think have the concentration for yoga, but give it a try + let us know how it goes!