‘Success is having the freedom to do that what you love and get paid for it!’
THIS SHOCKED ME
Only one in five trained artists earn a living practicing their art!
This number shocked me. I know that being an artist is not easy but why do so few artists working today manage to make a living doing what they love?
This question took me on a quest. I wanted to find out why that one person in five could live off their art the other four could not. What was their secret? What are or were they doing differently? I searched for clues in the lives and works of past and present day artists.
There were universal, common traits successful artists shared.
A little word of encouragement: these had little to do with their childhood, education or even the level of their talent.
These keys can help you thrive, too! If your art career is not where you want it to be, there is simply something you still need to learn, embrace or understand. Being a professional artist is not be easy and will require you to do the work but it is perfectly doable.
In the coming podcasts I will be looking at the traits what successful artists are getting right.
My hope is that you will be inspired and encouraged to take steps to turn your art dream into a happy reality.
The big and small decisions we make determine the course in our lives. If you want to live out your creative dreams, you need commit to making them a priority.
Webster dictionary describes COMMITMENT as:
'the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity.'
'an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.'
Without making a choice your hopes, dreams and promises will not materialize.
Artists who succeed made a decision to be just that: artists.
Piet Mondrian (the Dutch artist known for his paintings with big red, blue and yellow squares) is considered one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. His paintings enjoy fame and recognition all over the world. It is fair to say that he was a successful artist.
Mondrian was born in Amersfoort, a city close to my home. His father was a schoolteacher who strongly encouraged his son to pursue the same vocation. Mondrian completed his teaching degree but his heart was set on one thing. He wanted to be an artist. He left his teaching career behind and became a student at the Academy for Fine Art in Amsterdam. His many sketches and early paintings show that he vigorously painted and sketched almost daily. Strapping his easel, pallet and paints to his bicycle he could be found studying light, color and composition along the canals and in the parks of Amsterdam.
Later, he worked in Paris and New York, where he made his artistic breakthrough. The secret to Mondrian’s success was that he made up his mind. He wanted to an artist. He was committed and determined. Today, we can enjoy his amazing paintings, which play such an important role in the history of art.
When we start to embrace our creativity we set out on a journey that will last us a lifetime. It is going to one big adventure, one that will have unforgettable highs and one that will have you facing your fears and failures.
On my website you will find an infographic of this ARTIST JOURNEY.
Download your free copy and find out where you are on your journey.
We are all in different phases on this journey. You may just be starting out or maybe you have been creating for years. Where ever you are commit to take your next step.
As a coach and teacher of artists I get to speak and through the years I have recognised 8 types of 'resistant' creatives that find it difficult to reach their creative best.
By naming these types I in no way want to judge or discourage you but I am a firm believer that the TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE. By recognising that which is holding you back can give you the wings to get back on track and actually start turning your passion into a meaningful profession.
DO YOU RECOGNISE YOUR ARTIST RESIST TYPE?
FIND OUT WHAT IS HOLDING YOU BACK
Shadow artists are often super talented but instead following their own creative dreams they have chosen to support others in their dreams. Shadow artists become teachers, run a gallery or work in the creative industry.
Imposters feel like they don’t really belong, especially not in the art world. They can’t get the words 'I am an artist 'out of their mouths. They feel inferior and not worthy to be an artists. They would rather be busy with a craft but not an artist.
Perfectionists feel they are never quite ready to take their next step. They are waiting for all the factors to line up just perfect before they will sign up for that painting class or work on a new commission. They are never quite ready and I fear if they don’t deal with this need to be perfect they probably and sadly will never reach their creative best.
Tomorrow is the favourite word for this creative. They love creativity, enjoy art but get distracted or side tracked by all kind of activities never really getting their feet wet or teeth into their art.
Blames everybody and everything for not being able to follow their art dream. They had a bad childhood, they did not study, they are not good enough, not pretty enough to post on Instagram, no money, it is such a hard profession......The list goes on and on...The reasons to not follow their artist heart far outweighs the reasons to do it and then they simply don’t.
This creative is in the grip of what others are doing, saying and accomplishing. And instead of being inspired by other peoples successes it paralyses them. They care continually compare themselves with others and feel inferior and incompetent. This is just too overwhelming and then they simply settle for less or hide in the shadows...often feeling miserable.
The next creative I call the edgers. They dabble with creativity. They do a course here and a workshop there but they feel too insecure to actually focus on a certain area and do it well. They nibble around the edges of their creativity never mastering a technique or going through the pain of failure or difficulty. Unfortunately their only reward is the crumbs left on the edges. They have tried every technique under the sun, have huge storage boxes filled with art supplies but never really get to use them to make something that makes them shine.
As artists we are dreamers. We need to live in that place where anything and everything is possible. But a dream without a goal is just a wish. Don’t spend your life wishing you are an artist. Dreaming what it would be like to earn your living doing what you love...start to make that dream a reality.
Anything that you just read ring true to your life and creative journey?
Now before you rush off or vow never to pick up a paintbrush again.
Don’t beat yourself over the head.
Decide today that you want to do something about it.
Maybe you even need to forgive yourself for the years of creative neglect. This can be a powerful action. Bring that what is holding you back into the light. Share it with your partner or with a friend and if you can't find the right person you can write yourself a letter.
Write a letter to your creative, artist heart stating that you recognise that it exists and that you determine to give that part of yourself more time and attention. It may seem weird at first but it is very powerful.
In the worksheet that comes with this episode you can find more exercises that you can do in order to get more creatively free.
Committing to being an artist is step number one. Decide to be an artist. Decide to do what it takes to get there. Make your art and your artist heart a priority. This can be a difficult decision. It could mean giving up other passions or hobbies. It could mean rearranging your schedule or lifestyle.
Join a class, find a mentor, learn online, mix some paints or visit a gallery. Set aside time! However small your step, commit to it and start moving in the right direction.
It is time to take yourself and your art seriously and listen to the little voice inside of you that is telling you: I am an Artist!
This episode comes with a free art resource and a worksheet including practical exercises to help you take your next steps toward making a living with your art and establishing an art career.
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