I just finished up with an all day, rather grueling artist workshop , the topic at hand being business practices.


 Much I was familiar with, at least superficially, but when role playing was introduced, ( again, ugh) new revelations were revealed .

I’m insufferably shy , I feel ill from exposing myself and of course , who do they call upon first . I was mortified , but I suppose fighting one’s demons is half the task . It’s almost impossible for me to discuss my own work , always trying to deflect scrutiny of the work and by extension , myself .

I still feel mortified . But I tried to persevere through the discomfort.

Part of the workshop was, once divided into small groups, we were to view and describe one another’s work to our group mates . Me being me made positive , probably lame , certainly vague comments  ; truthful but never wanting to hurt feelings . In hindsight I see that as unhelpful.

The observations made concerning my own work were revelations- at least to me .

My  work was described as :



Religious associations 

Strangely biblically tinged 


Depicting decay 

Realistically rendered 



More familiarily , it was described as :







On one hand I’m concerned that my work can be perceived as disturbing but on the other I AM trying to create emotionally evocative work . In the end , I left feeling fascinated by perception , the very concept of perception, how I perceive my work not always translating , or if it does , in a darker stranger way than I had planned . This is something , that in so many ways,  cannot be controlled without deliberately designing an image to evoke a specific response .

But that’s perhaps best left to marketing .

It is all so personal ,the work  I make ; it might seem idiosyncratic, perplexing , off putting to some ( many?) . I have only just begun to acknowledge that fact in my bubble of splendid isolation.

I’m not going to make any significant changes after these revelations, in fact I feel committed , dare I say  confident in the direction I’ve set for myself. Whereas previous critique left me in a puddle , I found this experience a helpful , and strangely ,an affirmation . 

One of the facilitators tried to coax me into being more natural while  role playing . The truth being I WAS  being the natural me, the terrified , the insecure me , the one who makes stuff that may seem inscrutable ( even disturbing ) at times . My job now is to continue exploring my beingness, staying focused upon my truth and when possible try to explain it more efffectively . 

And keep business cards at hand.

Now I’m going for a run.

Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

8 thoughts on “Perception ”

  1. you are very articulate in writing and I am sure are in person when you are not self conscious. the disturbing aspects of your art are also a mirror for the viewer. and I find so many cultural and historical layers in what you are doing.

    1. I am freer while writing , I need to reflect upon my thoughts and my intentions . Some folks , our facilitator , seem to have an uncanny confidence and breezy demeanor that ingratiates ; I on the other hand am burdened by self consciousness . Their good cheer only exacerbates my awkwardness.
      I hadn’t expected roll playing , will need to read the fine print next time 🙂

  2. Mmmm! Role-playing! Really?

    Leonard, never concern yourself with what others think. Take compliments when they come, and ignore the other. If I went to the session you attended and laid myself open to what was offered by way of descriptions from others, I’d be flattened. Don’t seek approbation from people who neither know you or understand the first thing about your work. That would be like flashing the pages of a Dickens novel in front of a class and then expecting everyone to describe what they’d understood of the story!

    The day everyone loves, praises and ‘gets’ what you make, is the day you should lay down your brushes. Please no-one other than yourself. And anyone who thinks that you should be able to ‘describe’ your work is deluded. You’re a painter, not a copywriter! Find your own ways to market your art in the ways that suit you best. If need be ask other, trusted onlookers with the necessary skills to write about what you make. That’s what I do! There are always other ways.

    You describe yourself as shy, and yet heroically lay yourself open in your work, and that work is the ONLY important thing. Focus on making and quit the marketing courses. You can’t take that stuff and apply it to yourself. Maybe to sell perfumed soap, but not serious art. I understand your desire for self improvement in terms of promoting your art, but undertaking such a course is not the way to do it. If it felt traumatic it was because this is NOT the way for you. Don’t put yourself through this crap!

    1. I so hear you my dear friend. The workshop had been marketed as devoted to applying to residencies , grants and gathering the necessary materials needed to present a package .
      But this being LA , so many have the acting bug, I guess role playing is inevitable.
      I actually have been focusing more and more upon just the making , actively avoiding the distractions unless they seem intriguing. More and more it’s just art, the making and the looking . I really appreciate your validation and as always your generous support .

  3. Leonard, being in that class and seeing you go through the rigmarole of the role playing, I felt for you, it was tough. The wonderful part was, after a few goes, it was really you, not the terrified you. I think we all feel that hesitation and lose that window of opportunity to introduce ourselves and regret it afterward. Seeing you try, stumble, try again and succeed made me feel at least, with a little practice, it’s possible to do it. With some more practice, maybe it might not be so painful? I think that’s possible too.

    1. You are a sweetheart for saying that , I hope so .
      Pleased to have met you and thanks for the support.

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