Confidence is one of the most collector-attractive qualities an artist can possess.
You are more likely to get the commission, sell the work, fill your classes, and have your proposal accepted if we believe in you. And we are more likely to believe in you if you believe in yourself and your art.
Confidence comes with experience.
Exhibiting your art in public and having conversations with art visitors contribute to growing your confidence. Yet there are times when even the most experienced artist lacks in confidence. This comes with the territory.
You are bound to go through cycles of self-assuredness and doubt if you are experimenting and growing as an artist.
Perhaps these pointers will help when you’re not feeling so sure of yourself.
Visualize the experience.
As you are preparing for an event such as an art opening, visualize how you want to show up. Imagine yourself firmly planted in the room, not flitting about, and welcoming one guest after another.
What do they say to you? How do you respond?
Be interested in other people.
Confident people are comfortable enough to focus on other people. They leave space for conversation and don’t talk about themselves all of the time.
It sounds counterintuitive, but people will think you’re fascinating if you just listen to what they say and ask about their interests.
Develop a firm handshake, look people in the eye, smile, and call them by name. I practice this frequently with cashiers in checkout lines.
In my experience, introducing myself to strangers is a quick way to relieve any anxiety around an event with lots of people.
Stand up straight.
Don’t slouch in the back of the room. Pull your shoulders back, hold your head high, and introduce yourself to people.
Remember that everyone at an art opening is there for the same reason: to be seen and to meet people. (If you want to view the art, go before or after the opening.)
A new outfit can do wonders for your esteem, as can painting your nails or shining your shoes. Or try a new hairdo.
Anything that improves your appearance can give you a boost.
Never disparage your work.
When someone says something kind about your art, all you have to do is say Thank You. Don’t giggle and brush aside their compliment. Don’t look down at the floor and say, Aw shucks. Look them in the eye and express your gratitude.
Don’t apologize for poorly cut mats, the crack in your pot, or the dirty display pedestal. There’s no need to call attention to imperfections.
Better yet, fix these imperfections before you show your work so that you aren’t tempted to give apologies and excuses.
You don’t have to always be confident. You just need to play the part.