I wanted to take a moment to discuss some concerns that I hear repeatedly amongst artist friends and online. If you are reading this post, then more than likely you are an artist or maybe an art enthusiast. Some of you may have embarked upon making a career of your art while others are afraid to do so for various reasons. And of the ones that are currently working on their art careers, you may find yourselves discouraged at times or frustrated that things are not going as planned. So what do you do about it? Well, I am here to say that first of all, don’t give up. And don’t be scared, or discouraged, or angry, or sad, or frustrated, etc., etc., etc. This is a subjective business and not everyone will feel that your work suits their gallery or their living rooms. And that’s okay.
Let’s face it. This career is not for sissies. But if you love your art, which I’m sure you do, then the other stuff won’t really matter. Take pride in your work and take pride in all that you have accomplished. Even if you’re just starting out, you have a lot to be proud of just in taking the first step to starting your career. Shockingly enough, most people do not take those first steps (and that’s including those that are not even artists). It takes guts to make the first move. You’re getting out of your comfort zone. And even once you are well into your career, you will find that you still have to shake things up and get out of your comfort zone again and again. As the stakes get higher, you need to do more as well as reach more. But that’s okay because you love what you do.
Aside from loving your work, you have to be consistent. That is the one thing that I see so many artists drop the ball on. Consistency is key. You can’t expect to accomplish everything overnight. You will have to slowly build and take each step towards building your exhibition experience, your portfolio, your sales, your awards, etc. And just because you accomplish one goal, doesn’t mean you can stop. You have to keep on plugging away at your career. You can’t just coast or rest on your laurels. You’ll need to have new work to show, you’ll need to expand to other cities, other states, other countries even. You’ll need to keep moving. How many bands can you think of that were one-hit wonders? How many actors can you think of that were popular and then seemed to disappear from the face of the Earth? You may find it hard to even think of examples but once you do, you’ll be thinking, “oh yeah… whatever happened to…?” Don’t be one of those cases. You are not a flash in the pan. You’re serious about your career and you are here to stay.
The good news is it’s not about luck! Sure, sometimes you may happen to be in the right place at the right time, but that won’t be often. And even if it does happen, it won’t necessarily make your career. Even for the positive things that happen in your career, if it wasn’t directly related to your doing, if you trace it back, you will probably find that it was thanks to one of the “seeds” you planted in the first place. You don’t need to buy a Magic 8 ball or get a tarot reading. Just keep putting yourself out there, creating more, improving as much as possible, marketing, networking, exhibiting, etc. You don’t need luck- luck is hard to get anyway. Consistency is easy enough to do and is a sure bet.
Stay strong, be consistent, and be professional. The rest will follow.
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