Friday, March 13, 2020

An Artist’s Voice

There is so much more to being a professional artist than you could ever dream.  You have to wear pretty much every hat known to man.  I need to be able to write about my work, know how to post on every social media known to man and keep current with them.  Managing time, managing money, chasing payments.  Researching shows, galleries, other artists, booking shows.  Preparing for shows.Photographing my work and editing. Maintaining blog and websites. Continually searching for new venues. Knowing how to take money in many ways. Working on contacts.

Here’s my white sheet-draped studio, converted to a makeshift photography studio:

I donate time and art and continually have people ask. What I’ve found is it RARELY helps my business.  It usually costs and hurts the price of the art I’m selling.  Think about it, I spend ten hours creating a piece of art which I donate and get nothing but ‘advertising,’ which 98% of the time counts for nothing.  That ten hours costs me.  How much are you paid for ten hours at your job?  What are hours worth for those in business that have worked all their lives to get to that point in their careers? Don’t stop asking, but I’m choosy now and usually pick where I want to donate carefully to causes that I truly believe in.  I’m blessed and I love blessing others, but I’m sometimes tired.

Learning the ins and outs of this baby is time-consuming.  I know all about composition and what I want, but, there’s a lot to learn digitally and mechanically.

Teaching classes.  I write my curriculum and change lesson plans every year. I have written BOOKS and compiled shelves of curriculum.  Each book is about three inches thick.  You can stack them to your hips.  People say, ‘you should publish books.’  Yep.  In all that spare time. Studying art and art history.  Just ask. Anything you want to know about art. Writing class plans. Preparing each week, preparing examples, sending assignments out. Teaching privates, setting up summer classes, laying plans, getting materials, writing, advertising, creating brochures, content and business cards, speaking at conferences and gatherings, conventions, giving demos.

(I’m under the hat, cocked at an odd angle to keep the light out of my eyes.  The big painting is our oldest, eyebrows raised asking me if I like his stupid glasses (we enjoy trying on stupid glasses together).

I make art because I must.  I believe that artists are God’s gift to man to encourage this world and to give Hope.  Our Creator made us creative in His image and my response is to make art inspired by His creation.  I almost forgot MAKING ART! Trust me, that’s what I want to do all the time, but it’s hard to get to it with all this.  I would LOVE to have more time to make art.  I’m sure I’ve missed things but to sum it up, it’s demanding and often discouraging.  I work A LOT.  Do not become an artist unless you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT HELP YOURSELF!!  As for me, I absolutely cannot help myself.  Although it’s difficult, I love my job.  So, please encourage your artist friends which also means monetarily.  Honestly, folks, an artist can only take so many ‘I love your works’ without anybody putting the money where his mouth is.  Buy stuff from your artist friends!  That way we can keep on keeping on, to encourage YOU. 

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