Beating perfectionism and growing a community, with Carrie Brummer of Artist Strong

by Joanna Pieters | Follow her on Facebook here

One day in her 20s, Carrie Brummer picked up her paintbrush in her sister’s basement, with the knowledge it might be the last time. Facing an operation that could take her sight, and possibly her life, she immersed herself into creating two self-portraits. ‘I just felt free’, she recalls.

It was when they were selected for a national tour that she began to reflect on what had been holding her back until that point: perfectionism, a sense of ‘should’, or, as she says, ‘a really loud inner critic’. She talks about how it led to everything changing: she started to travel, to explore, to do the things she wanted to rather than being the ‘good girl’ she’d always been.

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Carrie went on to create the online art school and community Artist Strong, where she teaches and supports thousands of artists. Unlike so many online communities, Artist Strong is extraordinary in how supportive it is, and how free of self-promotion. Carrie’s driving principle remains to help artists discover their own voice, rather than showing them what they should be doing.

I’ve been a lurker in the Artist Strong community for some time now, and I’m always in awe of how Carrie combines sensitive and encouraging feedback with building a tremendously strong community. I found her, even more than I’d expected, thoughtful, caring and deeply self-aware.

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