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
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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 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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.