You Are in Charge

There are six principles of no-excuse art marketing that guide my teaching and my book.

The first principle, I believe, is the most important. It states:

You are in charge of your career. You have control over words, prices, artwork, and your image. People will take as much from you as you give them, so guard this power to remain in charge of your destiny. Accept 100% responsibility for your actions and make no excuses.

It might seem as though your power is in the hands of galleries, curators, granting agencies, collectors . . . anyone but you! But all of these people have only as much power over you as you give them.

In his book The Success Principles, which I never tire quoting, Jack Canfield writes:

You only have control over three things in your life – the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take (your behavior). How you use these three things determines everything you experience. If you don’t like what you are producing and experiencing, you have to change your responses. Change your negative thoughts to positive ones. Change what you daydream about. Change your habits. Change what you read. Change your friends. Change how you talk.

Commit to yourself that you will guide your own path – that you won’t accept situations that make your stomach turn, that you won’t adopt others’ definitions of success, and that you won’t bow to conventional ways of doing things in the art world if they don’t match your values and vision.

You know what’s best for you. Go after it! Seek guidance and inspiration when you need it, but trust your wise self.

Never blame anyone for your perceived failures. When you assume control, you bask in your successes – knowing that they were hard-earned. Likewise, you must also accept responsibility when things go wrong.

Seems like a fair deal to me.

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12 comments to You Are in Charge

  • I tend to think about each new year being a chance for a new beginning, but really there is a new chance every day. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Great reminders to refocus on ourselves and how we life our creative lives.
    Thank you Alyson.

  • Good timing on this, Alyson. Thank you so much for supporting my own convictions! Just over the weekend, one of my representing galleries had a request from a client to purchase a work at a considerable price lower than the established market. The little bill-payer inside of my went…”Um, you’d better say yes.”…but then the much stronger artist inside me said, “Absolutely not. Your work is worth it, they are selling well, and the piece is unique.”

    I didn’t accept the situation and the Artist with a capital “A” stood her ground, cited the reasons back to the gallery rep and told them to take care of it. It felt good, and right and I haven’t thought about it for the rest of the weekend.

    I think it’s important to be strong in your values, convictions and thoughts and as my adopted father, Elder Tom Crane Bear says…(who is a lot older and was around before Jack Canfield stepped into the “wisdom” arena…). ”

    Your thoughts become words, your words become actions, your actions have consequences, so you’d better be thinking only good thoughts.”

    Thank you always, for your good thoughts and inspiration. You put the capital “A” into “ARTIST” for me, “A”lyson!

  • Thanks so much for such a timely post! This spoke volumes to me at a time when I’ve been ‘deep in thought’ about finding my ‘style’, figuring out what I want and where I want to go with my work. Thank you again!!

  • Great post, Alyson! I love your style of writing–it is quick and to the point, makes me think, and keeps me inspired.
    It’s so easy to blame someone else for when things go wrong, or even to not give yourself credit when something goes right. Thanks for the reminder that I am in charge of my own life, and I can change it/me whenever I want! Much appreciated. :) I look forward to reading more! -Alli Bratt (@AllisonBrattArt)

  • Very wise words…I reposted this too! I am working on the “thoughts, words, action” sequence in my life now…not only in my art business, although this applies to your “Blast Off” class too! Thanks Alyson :)

  • In the surfer movie The Wave, he takes on a surf rep who tells him to dump his girlfriend & stop using his mum’s boyfriend’s surfboards…He takes back his life at the end, but it is a telling warning about losing yourself…

  • Thank you Alyson!
    Great post!
    And…it not only pertains to art but to life in general.
    ;)

  • Thank you Alyson for the reminder to stay true to ourselves, to our definition of success.

  • Rhonda Franks

    Yes, we are always in charge. That’s a good thing!

  • […] you are trying to make money from your art, you are responsible for certain tasks that you may not feel like […]