What it feels like to be in an art show

Tomorrow I will be driving out to the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg, Oregon to see my artwork next to several other artists’s work. It is my first group exhibition since moving to Corvallis last September. This will the 20th time my work has been exhibited. I am anxious, excited, nervous, giddy, satisfied, prideful, and lots of other feelings all at once.

linocut print of a woman looking over her shoulder printed on used notebook paper that has been sewn together

I have heard artists compare exhibiting their work with standing in the middle of a room naked. If you are genuine when you create, I can imagine the two activities are comparable. I have never stood in front of a group of people while nude and allowed them to talk about me as though I am not there, but I imagine the feelings you would get are similar to the feelings you get when someone stands in front of your artwork.

I love and I hate showing my artwork to other people.

I love it because it’s a way for me to connect with someone even if I never meet them. I can speak a language that crosses lingual boundaries. I can influence the world (hopefully in a good way).

I hate it because I’m afraid people won’t like it. As I age, I care less and less about what people think, but there’s still a part of me that wants everyone to like me and wants everyone to appreciate what I do. I hate it because it is all of me. It feels like an open door to all of my thoughts, ideas, wishes, dreams, my soul.

But, I have to do it.

And, I’m so happy I get to make it.

And, most of me is ecstatic that some other people get to take a peek at the work and hopefully get something out it.

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