As a performing musician, I had incredible and debilitating stage fright.
I learned to get over it by making sure I was really well rehearsed and prepared (good instruments and a setlist) and just by getting several shows under my belt.
Ultimately I realized two things.
1. If you can get quickly into the first song, you’re golden.
2. People are never really listening to you as intently as you might think. They’re caught in their own lives and their own dramas of the moment and if they’re even paying a little bit a attention to what you’re doing on stage, you can consider the performance successful.
I told myself: “They’re not really listening anyway” and that helped me get over my stage fright.
You can check out our music here.
Most of you know I’m the Head Designer and CEO of Venus & Mars Clothing Co. in Gastown.
(FYI we just celebrated our 25th anniversary on July 1, 2018)
As a fashion designer with a storefront, I am constantly making art in public. Our studio is right in the shop and is essentially open to the public. You get to be real responsive to people’s opinions of things. I know pretty much right away whether our clients like what we’re doing. I get to see them try it on. I have a good idea of the fit of the garments. I know what they’ll be wearing it for ( festival, weddings, cosplay or just because they’re urban superheroes).
I think we have a real handle on our clients’ motivations. For this, we get the ultimate prize of our customers business.
Oh and there’s also the perennial, ‘You know what you should do?’
Of course, after running a business for 25 years, I think I know what I should do, but you know what? People like to be listened to. They want to be heard and even though I think I know what people want ( and a big sold out list to prove it), it’s important to keep an open mind. Listening to our customer’s ideas is one of the reasons we’ve managed to keep going so long.
You develop a tough skin when making art in public.
So here I go again making art in public when I’m writing this book.
I’ve never written before and it’s super interesting just figuring out the craft of that.
The technology available to us as writers is super interesting too. I think in a way it informs our writing. Writing for a blog is different than writing a novel, but they are affecting each other, at least they are in my case. One thing that’s cool about blogging is you are already a published author when you blog. The button says ‘publish’. I click on it and I’m published. You can argue with that anyway you want, but it’s 2018, people and it IS what it IS.
So I’m going to just keep blogging out WHY I DON’T BELIEVE IN MENTAL HEALTH
And working on the formatting of getting it up on Kindle Direct Publishing. I think this is such a great tool available to authors and I’m so excited to figure it out.
So these three artistic hats I wear have one thing in common: it’s the challenge of how to be one’s authentic self in public.
How do I be natural in front of people?
The answer is twofold:
Step 1. Know yourself. In writing, they call this ‘voice’. You must find you own ‘voice’. This has never been a problem with me. I’m one of the most opinionated people I know. So if you need to figure out who you are and what your opinions are this is the first step to being an artist.
2. Practice, practice, practice. This is all about learning The Craft and then practicing the craft and then performing The Craft.
It just takes time and effort. I can’t tell you whether it’s worth it or not. I was just born this way. I have no choice. I’m compelled to do this art. It’s like a sickness I guess. Maybe one can even call it a mental illness. But then it comes back to that thing, that barometer. If I’m crazy, how come I function so well?
In polite company I’m referred to as a multimedia artist.
PS: Have I mentioned that I’m renovating our house?