• Brandon Dudley

The Struggle is Real

“Hard times always lead to something great.”

Betsey Johnson

When I started my website last year, I told myself, that I would also use it as to start writing a blog. Well, it's been a year and I still haven't posted - until now. Still, I sit here, not even sure what it is I want to write about. Do I want to write about my own personal story? Do I want to write about my own personal journey about how I got here? Do I want to open up to the world and give them an insight of what it is that makes Brandon tick? Or, do I want to create instructional blog posts? Do I want to write posts that provide a service to others, that are more likely to rank on google and therefore drive more traffic my way?

I have no clue.

First off, it's hard enough to put my art work out there for others to see. I am far too insecure of a person

to handle the critiques that come from those I love, let alone strangers. For years, I've sat in my makeshift studio (if you can call it that) wondering why I'm not already famous. Wondering why my art work hasn't been picked up by some major gallery in New York, and why I'm not already a full time artist showing my art across the world. Then, I remembered that none of this was possible if I didn't show off my work to others.

So, I started showing it off online. Starting with my friends on facebook. Deleting it right after posting it. Then posting it again, and deleting it if I didn't get a bunch of likes right away. Then posting it, and leaving it there for people to look at and not touching it. I found myself full of anxiety every time someone would like my picture (I'm still this way). I found it hard to believe that they actually liked my art and that my friends felt bad for me so they were giving me pity likes. But alas people liked what I had to put out there. I even got a few commissions out of it. I sold a few paintings as well.

Wow! I thought to myself, maybe I can make it as an artist after all.

So, then I created my instagram. I thought, hey its a place for pictures, maybe I can find success here as well. Surely this is where my success as an artist begins. I started posting and got a few likes here and there, nothing special. Then I slowly I got lucky and gained traction and got a following. Then, out of nowhere, the likes stopped coming in. The messages from people interested in my art stopped coming. No one seemed interested anymore.

The same thing happened on facebook. I found that the more I posted, the less people were liking my stuff. The inquires for purchase disappeared, the commissions went away. When I got published in a local zine I was so excited to share it with the world, but the reception was cool at best. No one seemed interested anymore. Not in my art at least, or that's how I was feeling.

Now, I understand that not every painting or drawing is going to be a success, I know I'm not always going to be everyones cup of tea. Believe me, I understand that people posting too much on social media can be annoying. I mean, I hate being hounded with a billion pictures of my friends babies as anyone else. But, just like instagram I found my "popularity" (if you can call it that) waining.

So, what did I do, you ask?

I want to say I kept at it, and my I don't give a fuck attitude persisted and I kept posting. Nope. I stopped. I stopped posting, and I stopped painting. I figured no one was interested in my art. I figured I was never going to get a show, or become the artist I imagined myself to be. So what's the point in continuing on this path to nowhere.

Fuck it, I thought to myself. I quit.

Now, I understand this is not a healthy reaction. It's not healthy at all. Like I said, I'm insecure, and sensitive, and afraid of putting myself out there. No one told me they were tired of my art. The reason gallery’s stopped asking to show my stuff, was because I never submitted to them. The reason I wasn't getting the reactions to my art that I wanted, was because my art was becoming uninspired. I was becoming uninspired. I wasn't creating for the same reasons, and it reflected in my output. How could I expect people to respond to something that I didn't even like. I realized I was posting for the wrong reasons. So I took the necessary time away, stopped painting, stopped creating, for like 4 months. It was necessary.

That was a long winded story, what does this have to do with writing your blog?

Good question. I wrote all this because I find myself wondering if I even have anything worth sharing with others. Who am I? In the world of fine art, I am a no one. I have no MFA. I am not a full time artist. I don't have some huge following on social media. I am not some successful artist that has some sage advice or knowledge to share with others. Will anyone even want to read what I have to say? Does anyone even care about my story?

I don't know....

But just as this hiatus has allowed me to come back more successful than before (multiple potential shows in the future???) maybe I'll give this whole blog thing a go. I can't say for certain how often I'll post, or if I'll post again after this (remember I'm insecure). I'm not sure what I will write about. Maybe it will continue to be my random musings, or maybe more insight as to why I paint what I paint. I can't say. Maybe someone will get something from what I have to say.

The struggle is real.

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