No artist is an island

I believe that no artist is an island, and speaking as an artist, I advise anyone not to lock themselves up in their room, basement, or studio and isolate themselves from people, especially the ones who support their works.

Though we prefer the silence… the quietness of our immediate environment as we create our next masterpiece, it pays not to deprive ourselves of some human interactions. It matters not whether you paint for a living or for leisure, it is important to mingle with good people and even open up to them, especially when you struggle to create art.

Deep inside, every artist is a social being. Underneath our introvert nature (well, for most artists), our subconscious mind (or is it our heart?) cries out for us to be with people, to “connect” with them through the heart and soul.

Bring people into your social support system

People have benefited tremendously from our works of art, so isn’t it good for us artists to seek the company of the very people who have benefited from our art? Perhaps, in some ways, they could share with us the benefits they get from observing our works and above all, give feedback.

You need not look far for the people you would like to include into your support system: your family and friends, schoolmates, workmates, people you meet at church or group therapy, people you know at the local grocery store, fellow artists… anyone who knows you do art, acknowledges your creative potential, and above all, encourages what you do.

Your works of art have the power to inspire people and relieve their emotional stress and depression. Because you put a bit of yourself into what you create, although you may not intend to, people could “see” or “feel” you as they admire your works or performance or in the deeper sense, experience your creativity.

As you allow people to experience your creativity, you create for yourself a social support system which you need to keep building over time.

Reap the benefits of a social support system

You can choose to be alone… to not be surrounded by people when you paint something, compose a new song, or write a new story, but when you are not creating art, create positive social relationships.

Connect with people who understand and respects what you do. Socialize and develop a social system that will help you become a more resilient person and artist.

How does having social support benefit artists?

• Social support can relieve anxiety and stress

Just like everyone else, we artists are prone to anxiety and stress. The better way for us to beat anxiety and to de-stress is to develop a social support network.

You could start with people you already have in your life. To get the positive benefits of social support, spend your free time with the positive people in your life and limit contact with negative people.

Your extra time and energy are better spent with people who make you feel good about yourself and not with people who put you down.

• It helps decrease emotional distress and depression

Making art can be a long and lonely and misunderstood journey for artists who make living from art and spend most of their career dealing with rejection from family, friends, and even fellow artists.

While it is true that creative pursuits promote personal growth, a sense of achievement, and happiness, we tend to hold ourselves back from going after what we want when we hit a setback.

Part of the artist’s life is experiencing ups and downs. We want people who understand us… whom we can turn to for help… people who will listen to us and provide us honest yet encouraging feedback. This is why we need social support.

People observe our works of art to deal with their emotional issues. To deal with ours, we turn to people we trust.

• It decreases the experience of pain

Did I mention that making art is also emotionally painful? Our art tells much about the affairs of our heart, better than we do with words.

We channel pain, sadness, anguish, and other emotions into art. Through our works, we help others deal with their physical and emotional pain. This is why we make art: to be there for people without taking on their pain.

But what do we artists have to make our life less painful and more bearable? A strong social support system, that is.

We need people who understand that our work has lots to do with channeling emotions, especially pain, into creativity. This is how we create the works they admire. This is what we do to become more creative and productive.

We need people to understand us and to know how to best support us. By giving us the opportunity to open up to them, we ease our pain and find more reasons to live and hold on to our craft.

When you are going through a tough time, turn to the people you could trust. You need not be alone to deal with the things that bother you.

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