There have been a couple of things recently that I could have taken umbrage at or even been upset with but, on the contrary, they have boosted my confidence and given me greater belief that I am on the right course. I discovered recently that other artists have been attempting to copy my work. What! I hear you say, aren't you furious? Well, no actually. I must admit at first I felt a little put out but only for a few seconds. I then realised that they are only doing this because they think my work is good and they want to be like me. It has to be the best compliment anyone can pay and, as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. What makes it even funnier is that they are not actually very good, I shall only start to worry when they are better than me!
You see, I shouldn't be so stuck up about it. I too, in the past, have attempted to emulate artists that I admire and I would actively encourage all aspiring artists to try new and different styles and learn from established artists. What tends to happen is that in the process of learning from other artists you will eventually develop your own style that won't resemble the original work and one day, maybe, you will have people copying you. It has happened through the history of art and I am sure it will continue.
The other thing that came to our attention was that another establishment was using our website as a directory to systematically approach all of our artists. I bet you're thinking that's a bit naughty, well, yes and a bit lazy really but again it just goes to prove that we are doing something right. We have done the hard graft and tracked down the best artists in the region and the fact that someone wants to emulate what we do is testament to our success. Does it bother us? Not really, to be honest we had a bit of a giggle about it. While they are following us they can never be in front of us, they will always be the poor imitation. Amateurs trying to learn from the master, you might say.
The parallel between these two anecdotes is significant in that you can look at them both and take it the wrong way, even personally, and get yourself up tight. When really the message is a positive one, they think you are good! If you are not careful you can miss the subtle messages that people send out. It is sometimes easy to overlook a compliment. For example, my trepidation that seasoned professional artists wanted to do my watercolour workshops was seen by me as something to be worried about not, in fact, the sincere compliment that it was. Let's be honest, they wouldn't go to someone that couldn't draw and that teaches kiddies art would they?
Remember, the best artists are leaders and innovators, they are pioneers, they are unique. So, work hard, be different and trust your own judgment, you don't want to be one of the followers do you?