DATE: 2/03/2006 05:22:00 PM
This week I had a conversation with a friend who reminded me that expectations are what tip the balance.
Artists and craftspeople have so many expectations placed upon them, without even having to say a word. Do any of these ring a bell?
- Making strong work you have confidence in
- Juggling many commitments within time constraints
- Keeping art output fresh all the time
- Seeing eye to eye with galleries
Two months ago I set out to make a dramatic change in my life, freeing up one part of my day for a set of priorities I had long neglected. What I noticed was that a new, invisible bar had been set.
Consider that if an artist or craftsperson says their work is art, an immediate expectation pops up. We expect the work to look like art, feel like craft, or smell like something collectible or displayable. I would like to think the contemporary art arena has removed those expectations, but it hasn't. Recent proof of this in my studio are all people that walk in, head straight over to my studiomate's paintings, and walk straight past my abstract wall pieces. They can see a recognizable object in the paintings. This was their expectation before they ever entered the "studio".
Consider too that everyone's time is limited and, because of this, you should control how it is spent. Last week I had to change my voice mail to reflect returning calls "within 48 hours". People expected to receive a call back the same day they left it. Even I expect this when I email. But, if you are only able to devote 3 hours a day to returning or accepting calls, it isn't physically possible to meet everyone's expectations. It could very possibly take 48 hours just to find the time to sit down and begin to dial their number!
So, perhaps the hardest part about juggling expectations is that other people create them. Rarely are they created by the person they are expected of.
Yet, you can limit them by remind people where your boundaries are, setting barriers earlier, and finding ways to comfortably and confidently remind people where the lies are drawn.