All my life I've only wanted to be one thing: An artist. There were always enough people around to remind me that this was not a practical career choice because 'There was no money in it', even though there have been artists in every era who have managed to carve out an existence doing what they love.
Granted, most working artists will not have their works exhibited in MoMa, but there is a very large and varied market for art. Yes, you can have an art career. Admittedly, as I am writing this I have almost no idea how to make something like an art career happen, but the thought of waking up each morning knowing that my job is to express my vision is so delicious, I just have to give it a try.
So, when I came across Betsy Lewis' blog about how to build an art career in one year, I decided to put a 365 day cap on my own goal to bring it out of the cloudy, ethereal wishy world it has resided in all my life. Why not? We all know what concentrated and focused effort can do. Interestingly enough, the first blog post I encountered on her site was one about not apologizing for everything. Now I refer to this as the career artist's manifesto:
"I will not apologize for my art.
Not one bit. Not for the subject matter, the style, the framing, the medium, the technique, the pricing, or my marketing efforts. I will not offer up my insecurities to my viewers in any way, shape, or form.
I will not find sneaky ways to apologize either. I will not make jokes that diminish my work. I will not use the phrase, "shameless self-promotion." I will not respond to comments about my art with qualifiers and disclaimers. I will not back-peddle. I will not make excuses. I will not point out imperceptible flaws only visible to me. I will not turn sheepish when asked for prices. I will not seek therapy to explore the psychological roots of my compulsion to apologize -- I will just simply not do it."
The fact that Betsy highlights an internal conversation as a prelude to embarking on a successful art career, speaks volumes of what we as artists tend to do to ourselves. This has nothing to do with the market or the recession or whether or not people "get" us. The things we say to ourselves and the things we believe about ourselves can be our biggest obstacle to success. So, be aware of how you speak to and of yourself.
Tomorrow marks the countdown! will you join me?