- by Barney Davey
If you have the courage to make a change and take the time to understand why and how you are going to do it, then stop getting in your way and get moving towards a more rewarding life
Changes to your art career are going to happen. Either you roll with them, or make them happen.
To keep up, you are changing on a nearly daily basis. While some changes are microscopic, others are monumental.
You get a smartphone and start texting instead of calling and emailing your family and friends. You get a Kindle and stop buying physical books.
You get an iPad and stop using your desktop. You get a Wacom Cintiq Graphic Monitor and stop using paint and canvas.
Changes Come in Personal and Professional Ways
You get bad news about your health or a family member. Unexpected changes with employment happen. Maybe it is good news, for instance a promotion, graduation, or marriage. Regardless of the stimulus, they all cause change.
If the Fish Aren’t Biting, Change the Bait, Find a New Hole, or Quit Fishing
As a professional artist, (One who sells their work for a profit.), you might find the subject matter, color palette, or medium is just not selling as well as before. Do you question if you are on the right path? Should you continue to pursue making a living as an artist? Should you overhaul what you are doing and shift into another kind of art? Are you pursuing an art business career, or a passion for making art? Can you make them work together?
Make Time to Review Your Situation and What to Do About It
Once you satisfactorily work through the questions about what is going on with the art you are making, you have to address are you doing the right things to get your work to market? Are there things you are doing you need to stop, or cut back while putting your focus and energy on other ways to help you sell your work?
Social Media Marketing Questions Are Daunting
- Should you be engaging on the new Google+ social media platform?
- Do you need a mobile marketing strategy?
- Should you be cross-posting the same exact message on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites?
- Do you have the time and resources to create custom messages for each platform?
- Is there a reasonable payoff for any of it?
I can feel some readers’ anxieties swell just by writing the above questions because I know taking the time to think through them intelligently, then to come up with an answer and follow up with appropriate actions is overwhelming. It is enough to make some want pull back and hibernate instead of trudging forward.
Social Media Is Just One Part of the Art Marketing and Art Career Path Equation
It is not just confusing newfangled social media causing concerns. Changing consumer tastes, the decline of the gallery system, the growth of e-commerce and more are cause for you to evaluate and make changes to how you make, market and sell your art. The current circumstances are such that artists and other entrepreneurs are being forced make sometimes unwanted and difficult decisions regarding how to keep their business current, relevant and profitable.
I Am Changing, Too
I get all this on a personal level because professional changes relate as much to me as any artist reading this. I can ask myself if I am getting enough satisfaction and profit from providing artists with marketing ideas, information and inspiration. Should I change the blog’s Art Print Issues’ title since roughly 90% of its content applies to all artists? It is a reasonable guess that nearly 80% of its contents applies to virtually any small business owner. Therefore, I ask myself:
- Should I suffer the aggravation, and the lost SEO and page ranking, to change the Art Print Issues title?
- Do I want to be well known for advising all types of visual artists rather than just those who have an interest in the print market?
- Should I launch a new blog to reach a larger potential artist readership, or try to expand Art Print Issues despite the confusion regarding its title?
- Given I manage to write the blog, promote the blog, book, directory, workshops and webinars I produce, while working full-time in another industry, is this the best, most productive use of my time, or could I make more money and have more fun doing something else with the time I invest in them?
- Is what I am doing with this blog and related products my true passion, or is it the result of becoming an expert at something due to nearly 25 years of experience?
Make Changes, Even Big Ones, Does Not Mean Quitting What You Are Doing in Your Art Career
I don’t know the answers, not yet anyway. Nevertheless, I am thinking about them and working on coming to conclusions regarding them. One thing I will never be is complacent, or happy with the status quo. Not at least without thoroughly questioning and investigating it.
Is It As Good As It Gets?
It is certain I will not abandon the work I have done to make Art Print Issues one of the most highly regarded and well-trafficked art business blogs on the planet. Check on its ranking on the Invesp.com Top 75 blogs in Art Category. When you review you will find what is impressive about the rankings is nearly all the blogs listed are consumer, as opposed to business blogs. You find the same thing on Art.Alltop.com. That sort of third-party endorsement is rewarding and let’s me know I am doing some things right. Still, it’s not proof that it is as good as it gets.
Art without Sales Is a Pleasant Pastime
The difference you find between Art Print Issues and nearly all other blogs listed on those ranking sites mentioned above is the others tell you how to make art, or provide news and insights about other artists, which I agree is interesting and useful, whereas I focus on helping you learn how to make money from your art.
The Only Thing Stopping You from Making Constructive, Art Career Changes Are Fear and Lack of Information
Change can be subtle, such as moving from oil to acrylic. It can also be drastic, such as some recent situations I encountered. A colleague where I work just quit her $50,000 year job with great benefits to move to Japan to teach English to Japanese school kids. I asked her if she knew Japanese. She said no, because English is the only language spoken in the classroom.
Another friend has planned a second trip to Bangkok to visit the American ex-pat community there with the intent of living there permanently. A third acquaintance is back from ten days in Costa Rica and is trying to figure out how she can relocate there.
I know more of you are like me in that we have no plans or enthusiasm for moving away from the comforts of our home, friends and family. However, that does not mean you can’t make big changes in your life. I am thinking about your art business. Are there things in your art career that could benefit from changes?
Perhaps It Is Time to Tap Something New
- Are you finding less interest in your work, or subject matter, or both, than in the past?
- Are you bored with working in the same genre and palette?
- Does the idea of taking on a new challenge make your eagerness flutter and your heart race a bit?
- Does the notion of taking your career in a new direction throw fear in your heart?
- Are you ready to take on some new risk for new rewards?
I have long championed the idea, and so does my friend and fellow author and gallery owner, Jason Horejs (“Starving” to Successful: The Fine Artist’s Guide to Getting into Galleries), that artists should stick to a look or style. There is a difference between switching styles and having no discernible style.
Have No Fear. Leave No Regrets.
If questions like those resonate and stir your soul, then you are ripe to start planning the next you, the new you. You are only stuck if you think you are. It can be little changes, or macro changes. The point is to understand, believe and commit.
If you have the courage to make a change and take the time to understand why and how you are going to do it, then stop getting in your way and get moving towards a more rewarding life. It is okay to have concerns, but do not be held back by the fear that can be aroused by them. Be informed, confident and prepared and just do it.
You can choose to regret decisions in the past, although, other than learning from them, I believe it is an utter waste of time to dwell on them. What I am suggesting to you today is to start working on plans where you can say from this day on I do not have regrets about career or lifestyle choices I have made.
How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World
If you need inspiration that nearly anything is possible, then read this incredible true story from Jon Morrow. On this guest blog post on Probogger.com, he details how he was able to change his life in ways that seem unreal and impossible given the odds against him. If you can read his story on the link below without feeling pride, compassion and a desire to make changes for yourself, then you are beyond help.
- How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World
- Changes | How to Make More from Less
- Successful Art Careers | The Curse of Thinking Small | Part Five
- Websites for Artists – Walking the Talk on BarneyDavey.com