We close our gallery during Janurary and February to give us time to create and restock the space. We open again next week for 2016. We have been busy creating , painting, cleaning, and finishing work for the shows we have coming this year. Here you see a shot of our space as we get ready for March 1st. It takes a lot of sweat and muscle to get things cleaned and arranged…floors mopped and windows washed. We think it is worth it.
This is our sixth year in business…six years, holy cow! Time has flown. I have learned a lot in these six years. I thought I would share my top three lessons learned in being an artist AND making money at being an artist.
Lesson One: This is a marathon, not a sprint
If you are not in it for the long haul, then get out now. There will be great sales days, no sales days, and holy cow why isn’t anything selling days. If you believe in your art and have given yourself some financial cushion, you can survive the low points. There will be low points. You may have to get a job or keep your job longer than you thought, but remember this is a marathon not a sprint. Think long term, think beyond the next show, think slow and steady and you can endure. The low points will all be forgotten when that stranger buys your work for the full price and doesn’t even blink…then tells you with tears in their eyes that this will inspire them for years to come.
Lesson Two: Keep Creating, Even When it Hurts
You may get discouraged and a little bored with your creating, keep doing it anyway. Maybe you need to try a new tool or new paper size, or visit a local art gallery to be inspired by someone else’s creativity…just keep creating. You may want to read a different book, or visit a strange town or have lunch with a friend in a new restaurant, whatever it takes keep working. Your talent is like a muscle, if you stop using it you will have a harder time getting it back into shape once you really want to create. No one said that everything you create has to be for sale. Maybe it is time to create something just for you…just keep creating. Never take your talent, your time or your studio space for granted…be grateful for what tools and skills you have and exercise them regularly.
Lesson Three: Build a Support System
Surround yourself with people who belive in what you are doing. You can find lots of people who will feel it is their obligation to tell you the reality of your situation and why you are doomed to fail. Let them talk…spend your time with the people who tell you the truth and love you through the rough patches. Find people who can give you an encouraging word, support your ideas, and pat you on the back when you need it. If you are bad at math, find someone to help you with your financial challenges. If you are bad at organizing, find someone to help you get organized. And be sure to find someone or many someones who can encourage you and empower you to be successful. An artist might create while they are alone, few survive who live the life completely alone. You will need people, lots of positive people to help you along the way. Make friends, be a friend, support each other along the adventure.
I don’t know if this helps, and yet as I re-read these three lessons they apply to any life, not just the life of an artist. I hope these three lessons help you as you travel along your chosen path for today.