Does fake it til you make it work in the art world?

by Jess Wilby on May 15, 2018

It is common belief these days that if you habitually do something for an extended period of time, it will eventually come naturally to you.

I’m sure you used this process when first developing your skills as an artist. Maybe you painted every day or worked hard on your sketchbook religiously, repeating the skills until you reached the desired skill set (maybe you’re still learning, which is ok but don’t put too much pressure on yourself).

We chip away building the skills we need. Trying to reach a goal. Faking it until we make it.

But what about on the personal side? Your artist ID, the way other people see you, adds a backstory to each piece of art you create.

It’s why Andy Warhol was revered as a maverick. It’s why Casey Neistat is seen as a trailblazer. It’s why Tracey Emin is seen as a radical.

The way we behave influences our art. It’s inevitable.

So can you fake it to make it in the personal sense too? Can you be a maverick like Warhol or a radical like Tracey Emin?


You can only ever be yourself and it’s fruitless to pretend otherwise. Here’s why…

Faking it til you make it assumes there is an end goal. When you’re learning a new skill this is fine because there is an end in sight. You’ll be able to fill a whole canvas, finish your novel or learn a dance routine. There’s a physical product at the end of our journey that you and others can see.

When it comes to our identity, we’re on a constant journey. Always adapting to and reflecting our environment – there isn’t an end goal. Even when you reach the ripe ol’ age of 80 you’ll be discovering new things about yourself every day.

So if you start to mimic the artist ID of someone else two things occur:

You miss the important bits
When you’re ‘faking it’ you’re carving out an experience based on what you think another artist has done, without knowing their full story. The problem is you never really know what goes on behind the scenes. So whilst you might think your role model had an easy route to success, the truth could be far more complex.

You miss out on the valuable lessons that can shape you as an artist when you take a fake route. You hold yourself up to wild expectations because you don’t know of the true turmoil your idols have faced (because seldom do we shout about our naff experiences.)

You hit the brick wall
Eventually you’re going to hit the brick wall, a bad place for any artist to be. You’re going to feel as if people don’t truly understand your creative output because they don’t understand you – and that’s going to be your fault because you didn’t show them who you really were, you gave them the fake version.
This leads to you feeling as if you can’t be creative in the way you truly want to be because you need to keep up appearances.

So when we say the best way to be successful as an artist is to be yourself we really do mean it! Make your own goals, do things your way, tell your own story, revel in your own uniqueness and make the art that reflects who you truly are.

We promise that this will keep your creativity flowing and most importantly, help you carve our your own original art style.


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