Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Art as a business

Wave - oil study

Waves have a lot in common with artistic life.   They are ever changing, but have a constancy that is reliable.  These studies were done as demos for an art class and painting water is one of my favourite subjects.  Its very nature is forgiving and allows you leeway in form and colour.

When an artist decides to seriously invest time, money and effort into an art career, it takes on a life of its own.  Like any business, the amount of reward comes from the size of the investment.  A career from art doesn't come easily - anymore than any career does.  There is training, practice, marketing, sales, inventory, production, etc. that has to be done on a daily basis.

There is a thought that an artist's life is an easy one, where we sit in the studio and 'play' with paints, effortlessly producing paintings that get sold magically, or we flit about going to openings or mixing in exotic circles of people at wine bars and cafes all the time. While there are moments of that, the reality is much further from there. 

Wave - acrylic study

Here's a typical day for me:

1.  Up at 5 - 5:30, coffee then into the studio
2.  Check emails and social media
3.  Paint for an hour or hour and half
4.  Go to the day job
5.  Home to get supper, do chores
6.  More studio time for painting, marketing, admin, or teaching
7.  On weekends, change out the day job for more concentrated studio time and run all day workshops about once a month

This is a constant pattern.  It doesn't change on holidays, birthdays, Christmas, etc.  Well, except the day job part, but then more time is devoted to catching up in the studio, developing marketing, making contacts and painting.

Wave - acrylic study

Also an artist's life is very solitary.  Producing art can of course be done in a group, which is often a workshop or practice session, but producing art that is intended for sale or exhibition it is usually done on your own.  You have to be content in your own company, introverted perhaps and willing to make sacrifices and yes, be selfish.

Its very much a business and being self employed, you do everything from the fun stuff to the mundane to the downright nasty, whether you want to or not.  What provides the incentive to move ahead is determination, and the level of need.  Its not for everyone. Making a living from art takes time, patience and a big leap of faith sometimes that all will be well.  It makes you take a long hard look at your life and lifestyle and how much you are willing to give up and accommodate to reach your dream.  More than anything, a solid plan is needed and a willingness to act on it, no matter what.

I'm pushing towards my dream and can see an end in sight.  How's your dream coming on?

Wave  - acrylic study


Rose Welty said...

Such a great post Jeanette! Yes, I can identify with the things you say. My life is busier than it has ever been - and more success means more to do - but I wouldn't change it. Not one bit.

I hope the end you see is your dream coming true. What is that dream?

I'm seeing the steps to my dream - still deciding if the dream is the one I want. The steps themselves are quite exciting and enough for now.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

hmm dreams....well i wanted to get into uni, so thats done (at least for a year :p). after that, its just to keep creating, when i sell stuff, its a bonus lol would love to teach but....time will tell if i change my mind on that :p

Jeanette Jobson said...

My dream is to move more into art and further from the corporate world. This past year has been a whirlwind of activity and it just keeps ramping up. Of course that is of my own choice and making for the most part, but it sets me on the right path to reach my goal.

Rose Welty said...

Jen - it's good to count dreams achieved!

Jeanette - good to hear your dream, sounds like you are getting to the exciting part of the journey!

Part of my dream has been to have a studio downtown and be able to interact with people over art on a regular basis. But, that really ties you down to being there everyday. I'm rethinking that, certainly creating everyday is the main goal!

Sue Pownall said...

I'm on social media catchup morning and I really must start scheduling my time better (following your example) - who knew a dog took up so much art time :? Mind I wouldn't swap her.

Love that you are on track. Looking forward to your next exhibition from the tantalising glimpses you are posting on FB.

Marguerite said...

I think you will make your dream a reality and it will be because of your talent, yes, but even more because of the many of hours that you put into making your dream come true. Keep moving forward :-)

PaintedSouvenirs said...

I love your comparison between waves and the artistic life. You're so right.