I'm going to explain this from a street dancer's point of view. In street dance there's this thing called a CYPHER, and if you don't know what a cypher is, it's the circle you always see forming in the club around a dope dancer.
I've danced for about 3 years now, and to be honest, I don't think I've ever jumped into the cypher, at least not willingly. It scares the shit out of me. I'm usually looking in awe from a distance, secretly wanting to jump in, but holding myself back by saying "I'm not good enough" or "I need to practice more". I've been saying this for a long long time, but you know what? One day, I finally did, and when it was all said and done, it felt amazing. I have no idea what I did, but it felt good. And of course, soon as I get over my fear of jumping into the cypher, I suddenly turn into that asshole giving everybody else shit about being afraid. But anyways…
So how does this relate to showing your work? Here are 5 reasons:
1 - You'll never be completely ready, so stop waiting. We all want to be perfect. Hey, I'm afraid of ridicule too, but this leads me to my next point…
2 - It's actually not that big of a deal. We have an ego, so we naturally feel that every little mistake we make can and will be noticed by others. The reality is, people don't really care all that much, and if they do, who cares?
3 - Having the guts to jump in will make you better. Why? Because finally, you have an audience other than yourself, and you have no choice but to get over you fears and deliver. It's safe when we're in our private studios. We can make as many mistakes as we want, but once we're out in the open and proving to everybody that you do good work, now it's about maintenance. You've set a level for yourself and now you must build. It's good pressure.
4 - People enjoy seeing the process. Remember when you first saw the "behind the scenes" footage of your favorite movie? You saw the actors getting into their costumes, the big hollywood studio lights flooding the stage, and the director yelling "ACTION!". You also saw them mess up, laugh about it, do a "TAKE 2", and you enjoyed it! It's nice to see the final product, but even better to see how it came to be.
5 - If you don't show it, it doesn't exist. You don't have to admit it, but I know that deep down inside, you've spent a good portion of your time talking shit about other artists. Well, while you've spent all that time shit talking, these "shitty" artists have been consistently creating new content. Where's yours?
So what are you going to do? Keep all your masterpieces locked up in your closet for the rest of your life? Or will you grow some balls, finally call yourself an ARTIST, and show your work?
by Jason Lam