Lately I've been giving a lot of thought to art as a business, which I guess makes sense as that is what I do. Fortunately for me, my focus lies on painting and sharing what I'm doing, but that can come at a detriment to my career when I don't give the same attention to the business side of things. For me many things have certainly changed over the past year, but it's not necessarily bad, just different. A few years ago I wrote a small book titled Sacred Vessel: An Artist's Handbook to share some of the challenges I have experience and some of the ways I found success that didn't cost me anything and also fulfilled something in me. The challenges were the things that I found draining while the successes weren't necessarily financial. I wrote the book because it also shares information that I wish I would have had in the beginning of my career.
When I began painting and exhibiting my work, there was no personal computer and internet. When that began there were heavy fees involved in starting a website and a lot of training required to use it. I took coding (which I don't like...this drag and drop system certainly suits me better) and I had to invest in proper lighting and slides to submit proposals to galleries and other venues. It was great experience but I made a lot of costly mistakes along the way. I hope others don't fall into the same trap. There is no one way of becoming successful, and honestly, I have found that this creative life is filled with ups and downs, just like anything else in life.
When thinking of social media, I have found that the imagery that I posted which had the most interaction wasn't necessarily the work that sold. And, often the images that don't seem to engage, often lead to wonderful opportunities in any case. That was a huge realization for me as it made me realize that I need to pay attention to the work that I do and not the public involvement. Not that I don't appreciate the input and support I receive, but I learned that in the whole scheme of things, ,y online presence matters so little. In the many years that I have been painting my has seen its share of public attention followed by silence, and that's okay. It is in those times of silence that I often work through creative problems and blocks.
I believe the best way to be successful is to keep working hard, be polite, and authentically connect with other people. Just like any job and like life in general. But unlike any other job, of which I've had several, it is the most rewarding career I could ever think of and I am so grateful to be able to do this.
AIRdirondack Art Project
Alberta (above) +