Tuesday, March 2, 2010

We're Artists, Not Hermits


That's often the word that comes to mind when I think of my existence as an artist. My day typically consists of waking up, working out, eating breakfast, sending my wife off to work with a kiss and a goodbye, then either working on painting concepts or the paintings themselves until she returns in the evening. Day in and day out.

It was while staying with 5 other artists in Charleston, SC for the Southeastern Wildlife Expo that I was reminded of the importance of interacting with my peers. The shared camaraderie, the trading of ideas and experiences, the insights, critiques, and simply enjoying the friendships founded on our common interest in all things art. This was something I hadn't had the pleasure of truly experiencing since my time in the art department of the last advertising agency I worked for before I took the plunge and went full-time as a fine artist. And I found I miss it — tremendously.

This is why I've decided to no longer be a hermit. I will no longer be content to hide in the bubble of my studio. It's time to venture out. It's time to join a local artists' group, or attend open studio sessions for drawing or painting — anything really. It's time to make an effort to get out and get together with other artists. It's time to do what I can to connect with other artists and play a part in a group interested in bettering their work and growing as artists.

I encourage any of you artists out there who are "artist hermits" to do the same. Don't be content with isolation. Venture out and connect.


  1. Well said. There is nothing like connecting with other artists, after all we face the same challenges in our working lives. I have found that running a small artists group from home one evening a week helps to keep me focused and in touch with others. Isolation may be great for working but we need other folks to connect us to the real world :)

  2. Oh yes, so true, I find it very difficult to balance the work (actually painting) and seeing friends or other artists and usually the painting comes first until I realise I havent talked to another human face to face for weeks.

  3. This post is dead on the money! The energy from that weekend in Charleston is something I wish I could bottle!

  4. Before I moved to Maryland and was within a short drive distance of good artist frinds, it was tough to get, hold on to and feel that wonderful feeling that comes from sitting and talking shop with fellow artists. You never know what you are really missing, till you don't have that personal contact and the ability to see first hand, in person, what your friends are doing in their studios.

    I never walk away from any of this sort of encounter without feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work.

  5. Dustin, WONDERFUL topic as usual.
    Having been in a commercial studio for almost 22 years, the isolation of working at home was actually refreshing to me at first...no meetings, no one there to "bug" me with business stuff, just paint, paint, paint... But as time wore on, I began to realize how much I missed the mental stimulation of other artists. It wasn't until I enrolled in an oil painting class with a local painter (the class consists of all amateurs but me) how incredibly much I miss the company of other artists. With booth shows now limping along, doors are closing in front of us all and we have less and less access to each other. So we must look more locally for our camaraderie (MAN,do I need a spell check on this thing!...)