Comparison - a double edged sword! Comparing yourself to others or their art can both motivate us to do better, try harder, push ourselves, or it can darken, embitter, crush and hold us back - it's all in how you look at it (like much everything else in this life!).
Have you ever created something you were so thrilled with, then gone to share it online only to pause over the 'post' button, or made something and thrown it out because it wasn't as good as someone elses? Have you looked online and seen someone elses' work and thought I could never be that good or mine isn't that good, so I won't share it - no one will be interested, or worse - I could never do something as well as xyz so I won't even try? This is the downside of comparison - we've all been there and it's not pretty and its often not a comparison in our favour. And even it it is - you think - gosh mine is so much better than that - think about this, that person may just be beginning their journey, that person may be a child, that person may even be disabled, or that person has been trying for years and this is the best they have ever done! Is yours really BETTER or is it just different, more to your own personal taste - take another look WITHOUT the influence of comparison and you may see things very differently.
The image below is by artist Jane Laurie (isn't she amazing - click on the image to go to her site) and this image sums it up perfectly for me - the little bird in a cage of his own making, sitting envying all those prettier birds that are free around him. I wonder what would happen if he let himself out of the cage?
Don't compare yourself or your art, your hopes, dreams or beliefs to anyone elses. Comparison is the soul killer, the little voice that says 'Why try' or 'Theirs is better?' when you really have no idea where the other person started out, how long it took to arrive at that point and if perhaps that is their very best piece ever (or so far). Instead compare yourself to who you were and what you were capable of 1 year ago or 5 years ago. Let the only consideration be -have I become better than I was? You may be surprised at just how far you've come!
Each one of us is unique and different, with different strengths and weaknesses - these don't make us less than someone else - just different! There is no shame in having another person do something better than you do, there should be no jealousy in these differences (easy to say I know) - but really our difference make the world a more exciting and inspiring place. Try to look at others art and admire rather than resent, to aspire rather then feel jealous - let that other person's amazing talents and skills encourage you to try - rather than discourage you - you will NEVER be that other person, you will NEVER create like them and you should not want to! But that doesn't mean that they don't have something to teach you, some way or some information that will somehow allow you to be more yourself!
I was going to begin this post with a list of all the amazing artists I want to be when I grow up (it's a long and inspiring list) but then I realised that I don't actually want to be these people at all, I love their art, but I want to be ME. I can admire their art, I can admire their talents, I can learn from them - but when it comes down to it I don't want to imitate their art, I want to learn and then take that learning and make it into something of my very own!
Check out my Inspiring Artists section for people and art I adore - the list is constantly growing! I don't know who to credit with the amazing piece of art below, but I thought it was the perfect ending for this post.