So I have a hard time with self promotion. I’m always really uncomfortable with telling my friends and colleagues that I have an opening or that my work got accepted here or there. When I’m at work at the community college it has been typical to not ask for help when I need it. To go way overboard in helping out around the ceramics studio. The kind of traits that one would attribute to someone who is humble and not self serving. Yet, it seems to me, looking inward, I’ve seen just the opposite: a raging, strangling, take all prisoners ego!
See, here’s the thing. My ego is so HUGE that I think everyone should see how great I am that they’ll help me out with arduous tasks I’m working on at the school, no questions asked. I think that people will write about my work without my having to tell them that I’m even showing it. That people will throw down their wallets at the sight of my work. That I don’t have to do anything because my work is so great. That it will just sell itself and I’ll just kick back and let the accolades, money, friendships, and fame wash over me. You see how tricky this ego is?
It wasn’t until this latest show that I realized something paradoxical. That, in order to tame this beast within me, I would have to scream out to the world that I’m making great art. I was working down to the wire and, without a deadline for images, only got photos to the gallery the week before the opening. So, I had to create my own flyer:
Then, I had to go all around Santa Fe and ask various establishments if I could put the flyer up in their establishment. THIS is humbling. For someone whose ego is out of control, having to lower oneself to toot your own horn can destroy you. And, funny enough, it can boost your sense of self worth.
A giant ego and giant amounts of self esteem do not go hand in hand. They don’t even know about each other.
So, now, at the college where I’m employed, there have been these flyers up for about a month now. My show is about to come down. Many of my colleagues have seen my work in person. They’ve seen the price tags. Seen the three red dots (!) Instead of waiting, simmering, wondering why I’m not exalted by my co-workers, I now feel like I’m a respected member of the community. I feel like I can ask for help now with back breaking tasks because I’ve given up that ego trick of having people feel sorry for you so they’ll pay attention. The kind of ego trick where you brag about working 5 doubles in a row or what have you. Maybe you can see this in my work. And maybe, my ego deflated a bit when I decided I needed to get this out of me and expose it to the world.