As someone who is just starting out as an artist who paints and collages, but not as one who has written for a living for the past several years, I would have to say the number one advice is to “BE TRUE TO YOURSELF”. It is so easy to get lost when you are told to study those who have succeeded, to mimic what you like about them, and to read everything you can get your hands on that will help your business succeed. While it’s important to become educated from the business owner aspect, to understand who your competition is, and to even gleam from those you admire, it is vitally important to take time out every single day to create just for you. Creating without trying to be like someone else is the only way you will find your true voice. And the only way you won’t feel defeated before you even start.
Do what you truly love and be willing to learn how to be the best at what you do. Be patient. Be persistent. Listen. Watch. Feel. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Be curious. Be generous. Enjoy.
Get a paint tube wringer. You’ll save thousands of dollars on paint over the years. Even more important, they are fun to use- making the tube come out all crinkled-looking.
Talk to other artists, and follow YOUR heart. Keep WORKING!!! Read artist’s bios. Make ART!!! Read the bios of hard working, inspirational dedicated people of all walks of life MAKE ART!!! Read artbiz blog & artbiz coach make art!!! Pay attention to your work, assess constantly, THINK make art! Give yourself time to listen to your muse Then Make ART!!!
I agree with what’s already posted. On the motivation side: Find your passion and stick with it. Work (paint, throw, sculpt, etch) every day. Play and experiment. Take the risk. On the more businessy side: Build a thick skin. (rejection is out there for all of us, it just means it was the wrong person/gallery/jury) Persevere. Don’t be afraid to mix things up: different works for different venues, side jobs, etc. On the same note, don’t be afraid to *not* do that if you don’t need to or want to. Shoes maketh the man (or woman). Presentation is everything – look the professional with the work, the portfolio/website, and yourself. Get offline and get into the real world – go to shows, art fairs, artists studios. Try to find a circle of people you like and can talk to honestly and critically, but who are also there when you (or they) just need a coffee and a listening ear. Join local societies (*any* kind, with any kind/age of artist!), take classes, enter competitions.
Process, being an artist is about a process that is good for you. Small steps lead to the feeling of accomplishment which then helps you feel good about the directions your heading in. Also learn how to haul your art around. Stick with good positive people that are moving forward in their own lives and as most of know here to be true thy self and if it meant to be opportunity will pop up like flowers. ~v~Laura
Forgive yourself because you are not perfect, will not do everything everyone suggests, will not keep up with all of the admin and the art, will not make as much money as you hoped, will have to take a job to support your art, will find yourself planted in the midst of birds and boats when you do masks and torsos (or vice versa), will think there is greener grass somewhere/anywhere/everywhere else, will have orders cancel, will have people say: well *you’re* the one who wants to be an artist. Celebrate yourself because you will be following your passion, you will be living your dream (or at least a part of it – how many don’t even get that?!), you will make amazing discoveries just by presenting yourself to your art regularly both about yourself and your medium, you will meet people who LOVE your work and are so happy you do it, you will find an amazing community (get yourself on-line: a consistant and indispensable support group after you’ve created it), and you will be doing what you came here to do even if it isn’t full time, even if it’s just snatches of time, and you will keep yourself sane: art not done is madness.
From a creation standpoint, there are no rules, only materials. As an artist, you should feel free to explore, investigate, experiment, and ultimately live out what Picasso meant when he said “Art is a leap into the dark.” What I would suggest to anyone making art, or thinking about making art, is to trust your intuition, your inner knowing; to allow yourself to be immersed in the process of creation as a joyous and sacred dance of materials; to neither listen to critics nor be one; and finally, to leap into the dark secure in the knowing that wherever your feet touch down will be the right place at the right time.
Ditto to all of the above! And while I’m on my own beginning path, I would add (in no particular order): Don’t make decisions when you’re tired. Reach out to other people, artists, former teachers, potential customers, galleries etc. Keep in touch with other artists regardless of medium – our Promote Your Art Group is now over 1 year old and we still keep in touch via the internet though we’ve never met face to face. It helps talking with others about trials and tribulations and successes. Keep learning – I know I will be a life long student of my craft. Don’t be afraid to find yourself in new territory. I like what one poster above said “feel the fear and do it anyway”. Be professional. Don’t put anything out in cyberspace you’ll regret. Start building your mailing list now. Seek out info by reading blogs, books and attending seminars. Stay healthy! My body parts are my livelihood in my craft. And, like one of my favorite podcasters says, “Get your but in the chair!” (substitute easle – bench – forge etc.)
That should read “butt” not “but”. So, one last one – it’s okay to make mistakes.
yippee! Welcome to the torch bearing marathon! Glad to have you aboard and hope you may carry (y)our light as far as you are want to and able to! May you see far into the night from its radiance and share its illumination to all whom you meet.
I am also on the first steps of the art profession journey. So far these are a few things that have kept me going. Keep making art Perfect your craft Write down your goals Stay focused on your goals and take a step everyday to bring you closer to them. Develop and use a great mailing list Get involved with artist groups – local, national, online Blog and stay involved with that community Study art, art business and marketing. PRACTICE WHAT YOU LEARN. Many people are rich in knowledge that is never used. Don’t be one of them. READ – MY CURRENT BOOK LIST IS: INSPIRATIONAL/INSTRUCTIONAL Art Spirit – Robert Henri Alla Prima – Richard Schmid Beauty – John O’Donahue American Art Collector magazine MARKETING AND ART BIZ I’d Rather be in the Studio – OF COURSE!! Purple Cow – Seth Godin (Actually anything by Seth Godin) Getting Things Done – David Allen I have learned much about painting from DVDs by Richard Schmid. If you are a painter, he is a great instructor. I also enrolled in smARTist 2008 teleseminar of art marketing. It was great. I downloaded all the sessions and have them on my iPod to listen when I need a boost or brush up on an issue. I am a recent fan of audio books too. Seth Godin’s and David Allen’s books are available on CD. Listening to them during a commute actually helps me look forward to bad traffic. Living in the Los Angeles area so I get a lot of listening time on the road. Prayer also helps, if you are so inclined.
Find a pleasant, undemanding way to make a living while you work on your career. Don’t take a salary, work for an hourly wage, lest you get sucked into your _job_ and lose energy and time for your _work_. Keep your needs simple, become a queen or king of frugalism, so that you can maintain focus on your art career. It’s generally pretty challenging to make it as an artist, and there are plenty of ways to get off-track. Always put your art first.
Focus first on the verb, as in “to paint.” Move to the nouns – artist, art, paintings, goals, career, etc. – after you feel fully comfortable as “one who paints.” Take your time. Trust your instincts. Definitely follow Philip’s advice above and get a tube wringer (if you paint) – they’re great for toothpaste too.
Lots of good advice already. Personally, I’d advise anybody starting out to remember that although society these days would like to have everything arrive yesterday, there’s a jolly good reason why artists used to start out as apprentices. Always be a student – never ever think you need to stop learning. Take your time – you’ve got the rest of your life to get good at this! Always make time for the business side if you want to earn any money out it. I keep lots of links to good advice from various websites around the world (including Alyson’s of course!) on my information site Art Business – Resources for Artists http://www.squidoo.com/artbusiness It starts with a section for people starting out – and moves swiftly on to some reality checks for the more experienced artists and those who want to speed things up!
Don’t sit back and wait to be “discovered.” When I came out of college with my BFA, I could make good art, but I didn’t know what to do with it. So I entered a few shows here and there, clammed up when anyone asked me about my work, mingled (and whined) with other artists about how “hard” it all was. 9 years later after putting it all on hold with the birth and baby-raising of my two youngest kids.. I’ve got a thicker skin..I’ll show anybody and everybody my art. I now treat myself and my work like a business. I still have paintings and work “just for me” or artsy/experimental but my main goal to is make a living doing what I love. So I teach in my home, I paint as much as possible while the kids are at school & when I’m not teaching. Then, after they go to bed, I roll up my sleeves and sit down at the computer to market/network/advertise/budget/plan whatever it takes to keep my business growing. Also, don’t be afraid to make art “to sell.” You can stay true to your artistic integrity and sell your artwork at the same time. It has taken me (and I’m still working on it daily!) a while to adjust myself to that type of thinking ….probably remnants from art school snobbery! And I also second everyone who says MAKE ART..you can get caught up in everything else sometimes. I now have “scheduled” studio time to keep me focused.