My favorite artist is me by Pamela Francis

I help college students write essays for their university classes, and the other day I had a prompt that said, who is your favorite entertainer. Now, I could have done that prompt, but I would be writing about my thirteen- year-old, known in the metaverse as Takumi2Icy, star of Shinden, Roblox, YouTube, etc. This seemed a tad nepotistic, though totally true, but I decided to do my favorite artist instead, because, after all, their prompt was “my favorite entertainer”, and I am helping students, not impersonating them. Right…? Yeah… No. So, I did, “my favorite artist” and guess what…?

My favorite artist is me.

I realize that this is not the expected answer, however true, and yet one may wonder or ask, how does this come about? Do I not get out enough? Am I some kind of narcissist? What does it look like when one is one’s own muse? Here I share some of the first signs that signaled to me that I admired and appreciated my own work more than that of any other artist I had been exposed to of late, and that I also got the distinct impression when I went to the Mint and Bechtel museums in downtown Charlotte last year that I was oftentimes looking at my own work, just with more expensive materials. This pissed me off because I knew that, were it not for some gargantuan budget with which to make off to Pearl’s with, (like those where-are-they-nows from that reality tv show from… what was that…? oh-eight…? about the fledgling young artists trying to secure their lucky breaks in Manhattan — I really loved that show) there but for the blasted tarnations! go I.

Oh! It was called “Work of Art” and it aired on Bravo in 2010. But back to the original question: How does this come about? Well, I wasn’t sure. But there were three indicators from the personal observation of my own habits as an artist that said a lot about where things had been heading for me as owner, operator and lead artist of Personal Touch Creations Studio.

The first habit was that of not being able to part from my own artwork enough to even sell it. Giving it away was hard enough, even though they were made to be in the hands of another. At first I tried to tone down the beauty. Mess with the masterpiecery. I would make them rougher. I would make them less finished. I would use old materials that were more mat than glossy now. Because of age and not being replaced with fresh supplies. I can recall the season of my using cereal box as card stock. I thought they would not be sellable in that condition. I thought that I intended for them to be samples or mock-ups. I thought that I would make a better version right after, and that I’d sell that one and keep the prototype. However, I found that it was nearly impossible to part with either version, as no two were alike and they all had their own unique personality.

The second thing I noticed was that I began to prefer to show my works more so than sell them in the style of, say, an Amazon or shopify store. Etsy was closer to my ideal selling venue model, but soon after building a shop there, I found that I operated it more like an art gallery. I knew that people were coming on there and looking at my things because I was getting notifications like, “you had 10 visitors to your shop”, and they were starting to “favorite” certain items. Even as my sales stayed flatliney, the hearts from “fans” continued to come. But as Danielle Leslie says, “Likes don’t buy”. Natch!

What saved my ego was knowing that my works were so much better in person than my mediocre photography could ever depict. So I wrote an article called, “My Etsy store sucks” where I basically told everybody that I didn’t have time to fill orders anyway, so don’t bother trying to buy anything. I consider this one of my more soul-bearing moves of tremendous bravery, and pretty smart, too. In “Why my Etsy store sucks and how I get around that anyway”, I consider that I am telling other struggling shop owners not to give up. No, I’m not talking to you, you “Three Bird Nest” mofos. I’m talking to me. My favorite artist.

Shifting from being a retailer to being a museum or gallery curator was becoming my path. As I recognized that it took the ability to detach from one’s own art in order to sell it to another, I reasoned that I did not necessarily want to mass produce cookie cutter handmade artifacts for sale. I had already confronted my considerations about the effects of putting more debris into the universe to become eventual matter to be disposed of. On an already crowded planet of things that won’t break down, I had to come to grips with my part in that if I continued to make and sell things.

In conclusion, my journey as an artist had arrived someplace that felt definitive about me. Although some part of this discovery seemed to indicate a level of staying small, having a lesser reach, or becoming satisfied with possible obscurity, it did not feel as judgmental or damning as I would have once feared. I was becoming more at peace with who I was as an artist, what I was willing to give, and what, by extension, I was expecting, hoping for and grateful to receive.

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