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