You may have noticed that there was no Croshare Catch-up for June – that’s because it was a busy month that saw us conclude the practical part of our project for Portsmouth Festivities 2017, Trawl. During this time, the boundaries between ‘art’ being ‘something that we do’ and ‘artist’ being ‘who we are’ became blurred on occasion, something we’d intended to discuss last month in the run-up to the Trawl event. In a way, the ‘break’ between catch-up posts has allowed us to gain more experience on which to base a little discussion, as well as the opportunity to reflect on what we would have posted. So, on to a question we jotted down a few weeks ago.
What if no one likes it?
What if no one comes to see it?
What if I don’t manage to finish it?
What if I can’t realise my idea?
What if it just doesn’t go to plan?
Practically every artist asks themselves a question along those lines about practically every piece of work. It’s natural. It’s not only part of the creative process, but it’s human. And behind each of these questions is another – almost the same one, every time: What if I fail? Well… What if you do?
Croshare’s projects see us approaching individuals for their assistance in making these happen; we recognise that we need to be collaborative, adding others’ experience, expertise and resources to our own in order to achieve the results we want. Often, when we approach these people, we do so thinking of them in the terms of the one thing for which we need them, or the one thing we need them to do – and it can often come as a surprise that they are, do or have far more than this ‘one thing’.
As an artist, you might feel pressured to be working constantly, to be productive constantly or to be ‘involved’ constantly. We’re told that those who enjoy the most success are the ones who are ‘out there and doing it’ every day of the year; it’s a simplistic and reductive view of art practice that often denies the value of an artist’s experiences outside the production and promotion of their work as contributors to the success of these, and can make those of us who aren’t full-time artists feel as though we’re ‘not proper artists’ or that we’re failing, or falling behind, in comparison with our peers.
As we begin working on this year’s Croshare projects, we experience of one of the things that pops up again and again: the generosity of people we’ve never before met. Over the last year, we’ve received gifts of advice, contacts, connections, networking, promotion, goods and services from a significant number of people, all given with one aim: helping us advance our artistic and artisanal practices to achieve our goals.
The period just before and just after new year is a wonderful time to both look back on the accomplishments of the previous year, and to think about what may await you over the coming months. It’s a good way to make use of the peculiar ‘limbo’ between Christmas and the new year, during which time appears to stand still – but, that might just be a symptom of eating one too many mince pies. Who knows?