Is Your Creation Missing?

Irises painting by Vincent Van Gogh
Irises; Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853 – 1890); Saint-Rémy, France; 1889; Oil on canvas; 74.3 × 94.3 cm (29 1/4 × 37 1/8 in.); 90.  Digital Image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

This is the eighth in a series which you can start HERE, or review the previous post HERE. Last post began discussing the third stage of creating, exhibition, when the world beyond the creator’s private work space is invited to engage with what has been created.

What Is Missed If We Don’t Exhibit

For many of us this is the hardest stage. It sometimes requires ancillary trappings such as public relations, advertising, incentives, sneak previews, “hype”, just to get people to turn their heads toward your precious offering. You may have to come to a philosophical truce with the exhibition process by remembering “it’s for a good cause.” Yes, they should accept your work just for its own sake, but I recommend extending grace to the masses who are already struggling to keep up in an overstimulated world.

Part of the execution stage may have been to look closely at the people who will eventually receive our creation. So, if we go through the whole creation process without shortcuts, by the time we arrive at the door of our recipients, we will be more likely to recognize one another, speak one another’s language, so that the door will be willingly opened.

We are not obligated to exhibit our creation to the whole world, but there are a few nearby who we can inspire. If we inspire them, they may reach out beyond our reach. Those who they inspire may reach even farther. This is a “viral” phenomenon. IF, that is, you and I take our creations all the way through their exhibitions. (I know. I already said that.)

The Unknown Need

It also happens that an inspiration is not consciously connected to the need of anyone else, that I just create something because I know it is right in my soul and do not know exactly why. We can be like flowers that just bloom because that is their nature. But, we are not actually flowers. We may have been inspired by something in someone else’s creation and could be colluding with them on a mystery. The first time I encountered an original painting by Vincent Van Gogh I felt a connection with him as if with a comrade and this has prodded me ever since to make works as if in dialogue with him about the mystery we share. The conditions for my encounter with his physical expression came only after he was long dead.

So, I must consider the possibility that my creation may be for someone who is not ready to receive at the time it is ready to show, may not even be born yet. While we must not back off in fear from exhibiting, we also must be willing to accept the most opportune time.

Galleries, theaters, manufacturers and event producers invest much to know exactly how and when to approach the audience to get the best reception. But, ultimately, not every characteristic can be known about the people who will encounter your creation and you will have to put the creation out there in faith that it was inspired, created and brought to exhibition for good purpose. Unless you present it, however unnoticed today, someone in the future may not find your creation, be it on the Internet (whatever that will morph into), or by yet unknown methods.

Getting Past Those Who Block Doors

You have created it; it is there; it exists. This is evidence of its validity. You believed in the beginning; do not let the critics change your mind, or make you back off from your conviction. The reception of your creation is not the gauge of its worth, or of its validity. Knock and keep knocking. The door will be opened. You have been faithful to the process while countless others have kept their ideas to themselves, given in to myriad kinds of opposition in the execution stage, or feared what is behind the door.

Creations which never make it to exhibition are missed opportunities of unknown proportions. What other creations will your creation trigger if you persevere? Your exhibition could have effects you will never know. When people encounter your work they are also on a stream of creation and will incorporate your work into their ineffable learning curve. Most will not even know you are influencing them through their encounter with your creation.

What will happen when people experience your work?

Offer it to them in the most conducive way for its reception. Make it accessible into the future. Provide ways for them to gather around it and interact with one another. Their minds and souls will be boosted in some way. Though your material creation will eventually disintegrate physically, its effect will contribute to the fabric of humanity advancing into eternity. You are co-creating the on-going universe with others who keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking.

Next post will give my concluding comments on your personal practice of the three stages of creating. But first consider two more prompts from the Table of Creation:

Is my creation stimulating conversation?
Am I engaging people intentionally, or leaving it to random chance?

Be one of the community building around this series. I invite you to click the “Buy Now” button on this page and get your copy of the art journal/adult coloring book version which I have created for this series.