Artist struggles can be hard to overcome, especially if the road seems pitted with pot holes and many disappointments, not to mention loads of failed art work. I will get to that.
There is the issue of artistic expression, and the issue of selling your art. In a way, they go hand in hand even if they are two different arms of the biz of being an artist.
Artist expression, how to negotiate the pitfalls:
The biggest thing for expression is COMMITMENT. As with any other work you have to be committed to get results. How do you build commitment if you don’t have it?
You have to build a new habit by showing up every day at your art, come hell or high water! There is no way around this. Even when you feel no inspiration at all, you show up and put brush to paint or whatever medium you’re using. Prepare you tools and inspiration might start to flow. If it doesn’t, paint anyway. It might look like crap, which is often does, but so what? You can always paint over it later. The sooner we realize how important commitment is, the sooner we will see progress in our art endeavors. Make loads of ugly paintings and be proud of them!
COMPARISON: Don’t compare your work to that of other artists. You are unique. Why would you want your work to look like someone else’s? To find your own style, you have to produce a lot of art, trial and error style, until you feel the unmistakable vibe of YOU in your art. It can take some time, but you are committed.
Guitarists did not become great overnight… Practice can be tedious, but the progress is noticeable.
It’s hard to explain what the vibe of YOU is, but you will know. It feels right, it feels magical, it feels like “yes.”
Then again, you might lose that feeling as you continue to grow and advance in your art. Then you lean on your commitment until the next breakthrough.
JUDGMENT: It can be the death of creativity. If you judge your own art as you move through your process, you are likely to quit making art. Judgment of others can be hard to take, but why take their word for it? They come from their single point of view, and maybe they are envious of your courage to be an artist. It takes courage to let the world see your art. Who cares what others think, right? Thick skin, remember?
Those are the three biggies.
Two pitfalls in art biz:
VISIBILITY: Unless you’re a performer it can be hard to make yourself visible online and offline. Many artists are introverts and find it difficult to allow the vulnerability of self AND personal art into the world.
The only way to overcome this is to SHOW UP and grow some thick skin. People will always be quick to criticize, but if you did your best and you love your art, you don’t have to buy into the criticism. There can be helpful criticism, but you can feel the difference. Don’t buy into the b*llshit. Remember your passion for your art and your commitment.
It’s easier to be visible online since there is a barrier between you and the public, but you will encounter trolls there too. Trust in yourself. You are enough, and your art is enough. It’s a journey, and you keep on going.
Blogging and having an online shop are two ways to be visible online. What is most important to you? To have gallery representation or online sales? You can have both. I find ways to show my art, usually in shops, and coffee shops. So far, I have not been in more than a couple of gallery shows, but I’d rather sell online. That has been my choice.
Make several streams of income available.
CREATIVE THINKING: Art-ing is not the only way to be creative. To make opportunity for yourself, you have to get your art out there. Think of ways you enjoy to make your art available. You don’t have to be represented by a gallery to have good sales, or travel to art shows.
I mix it up with some crafts and I also make e-courses. Find several ways to bring in income from your art. Build a mailing list.
Some of these things are pretty boring, but have you ever done work that was all fun and play? Commitment involves doing the boring stuff that is needed for your art to be visible.
There are so many ways to sell your art online: Prints, art on totes and mugs, commissions, online shops, a website with all the links to your goodies. Get inspired by what other artists have done to sell their art. If they can, you can!
When I started out I used to sell art on eBay, and I look at my art from my early days and wonder how it ever sold! Some did though, so there are people who will always see the beauty in your art even if it’s amateurish (compared to where you are now.)
Today is the day. Make that commitment and go for it!!
P.S. I have lots of new things in ONE of my etsy shops: https://etsy.com/shop/EarthandFaery