Recently, I was interviewed by the lovely and talented Teresa Bergen from Urban Art Network http://urbanartnetwork.org/article/improving-your-art-business regarding tips for a successful art business. After the article came out, I realized I left something out that will empower an artist to succeed. What I had left out is the importance of artists acknowledging their vulnerabilities. To make this more palatable, I decided to call vulnerability the Purple Gnome. It is imperative that you accept the Purple Gnome as part of who you are and part of your art career. The reason why you need to do this is that ignoring it can be highly toxic. You know when the Purple Gnome is present because you become anxious and feel you need to do everything in your career alone. You keep telling yourself that only you can do the tasks. The Purple Gnome is present when you tell yourself that it would take too much time to explain to someone how you do what you do and not doing the task yourself would mean it is not perfect. Striving for perfection is one of the Purple Gnomes favorite sabotage.
Taking time to acknowledge your vulnerabilities, places where you are fearful, shameful, and not courageous, is as important as admitting where you are fearless, feel pride, and courageous. It is being very real with yourself. Seeing vulnerability as a Purple Gnome and sitting quietly next to it will empower you to see where you need the most help in your career because an art career is not a solo journey.
When you see the Purple Gnome in your career, acknowledge him. You don’t have to destroy him. Instead ask him why he is there? Although you may never become friends with him, see his presence as a gift for you to pause and understand where you may need help.