I can't go into the details right now, but I recently spent some time working on location in a different city on a project with people I didn't previously know.
I also had the privledge of meeting some long time online friends.
I've done this kind of thing before, but this time something was distinctly different: I felt more vulnerable than ever.
It was like I was fresh out of college. Why? Well at first I had no clue.
Slowly over the week it started to dawn on me -- with the podcast and the recent work I've been doing (the past two years) I've really really put myself into the work and out into the world, more than I ever have in my life.
Also, I knew most of the people I was interacting with had a pretty good sense of these things, and therefore had definitively come to some conclusion about whether or not they liked me... Before I had much of chance to get to know them at all.
Here's the thing though: the past two years have been the best years of my career to date. The more personal and vulnerable I became in my creations, the better the results.
But it comes at a price. I'm sure one day I'll become more adjusted to the idea that I am who I am, and therefore what I make is what I make, and many people won't like it.
Ok, you've probably heard some of these ideas before, so here's something you may not have heard: many people will tell you the hard part is putting yourself into your work, BUT that's not it at all. The hard part is discovering who the heck you are in the first place. That's a long road and hopefully I have much more ahead of me on this journey.
When I'd first graduated I heard this idea, and my response was to strive to plaster who I was onto my work. But I was 20 years old. I didn't know who I was, I didn't know what I thought, I hadn't had many formative adult experiences, and this effort was super contrived, surface level.
8 years later, I have an opinion, I know something about who I am, and I can see real pieces of myself deeply engrained in everything I make.
The takeaway for me isn't put yourself into your work, it's this: do the insanely hard work of getting to who you are. This is maybe the most important work for an artist. The rest will happen naturally.