The Reality of Being a Full-time Artist
The upfront cost of being a full-time artist means letting go of fear. As much as everyone thinks I sit around and paint whenever the aha moment strikes me. It isn't as sexy as that. Much of the journey is redundant and draining. In fact, I spend a ton of time planning things, doing social media marketing, building my website, shipping packages, following up on potential sales, applying to shows. I spend WAY more time on the business of art than I like to. Because I don't like it, at all. But it is all part of the business of art. Now the art itself, the creative part, the painting, that's where my joy lies. That's what I am truly passionate about. But I know that there is more to being an artist than just creating. In order to take this seriously as a career, I have to do the work to make it sustainable.
(Do I make money from my Art? Not nearly enough, which is depressing)
Sometimes it can honestly be terrifying. I spend countless hours on paintings, I wake up and put my everything into this, not knowing the outcome. I don't know if I will be able to sell a piece when I sit down to create it. In fact I don't even think about that. I just create what I know, what I feel deep down inside my heart is important to share. I don't even know if anyone will want it, but I am compelled to create these images. If I don't I swear I'd go mad. So I go through this loop. I create art, and I share the art. Over and over. Sometimes I have success with it, sometimes a painting will be scooped up and sold before it is even completed. Other times I will have slumps, weeks where I feel my successes are less than I'd hope for. I fight with paintings, I rework things and I get mad at everything. I am learning to be resourceful. I'm learning to work smarter. I will now set aside paintings that aren't working, and don't have a deadline. I'll pick up something new, until I can resolve the issues within the painting prior. I've mastered the art of being brave and pushing on despite my fears. I submit to many galleries, shows, and places I am interested in being a part of.
(I'm just over here creating art, whether you like it or not! I won't stop until you do.)
Every little yes is a small achievement, a step forward to a new place to play in, a new set of rules to follow and things to learn. As an artist I have found that I constantly need to adapt while still being 100% me and maintaining the things that make me and my artwork unique. I sometimes feel like a spider, spinning a web in that I have full intentions on building this great thing, to sustain me and my family, but there is so much uncertainty within it. It's like I have found the thing I am made to do, I know for certain this is my calling, and I am focused on building this and making it my own, but not everyone wants to embrace and support that. I am so very thankful to those I come across who do support me, my art collectors, people who have given me chances, passed opportunities my way, I hold you all very dear to me. Without support I may have given up a long time ago.
And don't get me wrong there are days that I want to give up. There have been times when a rejection letter has pushed me to the point of pulling up the online job listings and crying as I browse office jobs in the area. But I realize everytime I am having that moment, that another no isn't going to stop me. I'm crying because I love my art too much to quit. I've invested too much time, too many emotions, and I've come too far to give up now.