There’s something to be said for being blissfully ignorant about the way things are “supposed” to be done.
If I had read that it takes most businesses at least three years to get off the ground, I’m not sure I would have left my safe job at the museum. If I had waited to discover directions for leading an online class, I never would have started teaching my own. I didn’t know of a model for online classes eight years ago, so I made it up!
In January, I shared that my theme for 2010 was “Collaborate and Innovate.” I think part of innovation is breaking or ignoring rules. Today, I give you permission to do just that.
There are no official rules for one’s art career, but there are precedents. There are also plenty of books and resources that offer guidelines. These are unofficial rules and might include the following topics:
- Putting together your portfolio (see Action 6 in I’d Rather Be in the Studio!)
- Writing your artist statement
- Laying out your résumé
- Sending your newsletter
- Launching your website
Many artists in the beginning of their careers are stymied by the desire to play by the rules and get it all right. They don’t take action because they’re afraid of doing something wrong.
Then there are the mavericks. These are artists who are unaware of “the rules.” They get a lot of stuff right, but then they go and do something that makes me scratch my head. I ask myself, Don’t they know better? Why, I wonder, didn’t they read that chapter in my book?
Darn it if it doesn’t work out just fine for them. They broke “the rules,” and the sky didn’t fall. On the contrary, they’re thriving!
On the other end of the spectrum are artists who have been in the business for a while. They can be so closely tied to the rules that they find it hard to adapt to new ways of doing things. Or they don’t notice when something isn’t working for them because they are too focused on doing it right. If this is you, it might be time to put aside the rulebook and try something new.
FINAL WORD: Don’t be afraid to break the rules, ignore the rules, or make up your own rules—especially when something isn’t working for you.
Enjoy an audio version of this content in today’s podcast.