Outside of the warm embrace of art school, life for the artist can be tough! If you have been fortunate to attend art school you should be well versed in critical discourse, but if you have not been so lucky, the question is, how can you push your art forward and avoid it turning into a self-fulfilling banality?
It is context and criticism that keep the artist unsettled. An “unsettled state” is the fuel of good art and in many ways the artist needs to seek it out to counter the constraints that conformity and routeen can impose on us.
An uncomfortable truth is, you can never trust your family nor friends to be honest. It is not them that you need to convince of your value anyway! It is the art gallery and art agent that you need to serenade. They are not your friends and with their critical prowess will make calculations about your work that may not be what you expect!
The important thing to remember is that art is about community, it is about connections as much as it is about the art. Imagine having a private view with no guests! That does not mean that the art world is corrupt in any way, but it does mean that you need to work towards fulfilling the expectation of the experienced, artistically emancipated set.
It is easy to think that you are right, that your art is better than everything you have ever seen, but we know that to be rarely the case. It is usually an instinctual response to rejection. In the past artists always came together to exchange ideas. Even Van Gogh, famous for his solitary lifestyle, spent time sharing ideas and studio space with Gauguin.
The bottom line is, if you cannot go to art school, you need to have artist friends. you need to network among the people on the inside. You must always trust your intuition but at all times, please, make your ego accountable!