My husband has created a series of etchings featuring crows. He completed Early Bird this week, it is the fifth in the series. The moment I saw it I knew exactly why he named it what he did, and everyone who has seen it has had the same reaction. It is a wonderful representation of the saying, the early bird gets the worm.
Growing up I didn’t know what that meant, the early bird gets the worm. Who wants to get a worm? I remember seeing worms all over the sidewalks after a very heavy rain and then noticed all the birds out early gathering sustenance for their families. That is when I understood the saying, the ones who got there first got first pick. It makes sense but until you see all the pieces work together to support the concept it is easy to miss the point.
As a gallery owner I see lots and lots of art. Artists from all over the world contact me to exhibit their work. I must get contacted every month by a new artist who wants me to show their work in our spaces. It is amazing and inspiring to see the incredible work and to learn about their process for creating. I have learned over the years that people buy the story about the artist and how they do it as much as the final work itself. If I can tell a story about the piece it sells. It’s about putting all the pieces together – the artist, their process, their style, their talent – to create the concept that is their work of art.
I see people struggle with finding their own voice, their own concept. At first they may mimic some famous artist to learn the basics, then they create and develop and grow their skills and slowly their work, their concept, their unique style emerges. It takes time and effort, and more time and more effort, and the ability to keep trying even if no one else sees the final product. Most artists if they keep doing – painting, writing, drawing, etching, creating – will eventually develop a style of their own. It takes courage and patience to keep going until they can see themselves in the work.
Being an artist is not about being the first one to do something, or the early one to market. Being an artist is about being the one out there doing something creative. It means creating when others are sleeping or working or relaxing. It means having the courage to fill the white space with an idea only the artist can see in their head, and working until it comes out in a final work. All too often the reward may be a worm, a small piece of something – encouragement, sales, recognition – that can help support their need to buy more supplies, to keep them creating, or encourage them enough to keep going and start that next work of art. Time and effort work together to pull the pieces together into a cohesive story that everyone wants to hear. And before you know it you have a etching series on crows that is storming the internet and getting praise from across the globe. I guess this Early Bird is going to get lots of worms…