Opinionated and open
Over a month ago now, I made my mother uncomfortable. I posted an article about how artists who use copyright are like Tea Partyists, and my Maman thought it was too revealing. She thinks it’s okay to have opinions, but not to share them all when you’re trying to run a business.
And she’s right. That’s why I don’t share all of my opinions!
Then again, she’s also wrong. (Sorry, Maman!)
Trying to please everyone is a trap. It’s a trap for business people and it’s a trap in life. Soon enough, you become an amorphous changeable blob that reflects whatever is around it, and the only people who genuinely like you are the ones who have really low self-esteem and need to surround themselves with people who are exactly like them. And even they are not likely to buy your art because, like you, your work has lost any sense of character or point of view or voice. In other words, you and your work are boring.
So, at the risk of offending some people, I share (some of) my opinions.
And I try to couch my opinions in non-inflammatory terms. For example in the post comparing artists who use copyright to Tea Partyists, I didn’t say that those artists are stupid jerks—nor, for that matter, that Tea Partyists are. I didn’t say it because:
1) it’s not true.
2) that kind of language doesn’t invite people into the conversation I’m trying to create.
What’s more, when people comment and disagree with me, I try to be respectful and open to their ideas (even when they’re not doing me the same favor). I aim to foster a useful exchanges of ideas.
Because that’s what really matters: the conversation. Not everyone is going to like my art or like me, and not everyone is going to think the same way as I do, but that doesn’t mean I should find a different job or that I should keep my mouth shut. If we accomplish nothing else in this world, I’d like to think that we can at least get out of our own heads for a moment or two and see the world from another’s perspective once in a while.