Embracing your artistic journey requires balancing dreams with reality. Navigating the landscape of career expectations, we find that success lies in achieving our goals and the resilience and creativity we discover along the way.

– Barney Davey

As artists, our motivation comes from a passion reflecting our individuality—a voice that manifests in our work. Our vibrant art communities flourish on the commitment and talent of our members, but let’s be honest: Navigating the art business world can sometimes feel like trying to capture the fleeting light of a sunset in a painting. 

As a creative, it’s crucial to grow not just in skill and vision but also in understanding how to manage career expectations. With this guidance, you can empower yourself to embrace whatever your artistic path may hold and chart a successful course to success with creative ingenuity and art marketing savvy. 

Accept Your Uniqueness 

Just as no single brushstroke defines all artists, there is no one-size-fits-all measure of success. Allow yourself the grace of understanding that your definition of achievement might evolve along with your art. This self-awareness leads to a more balanced and fulfilling career. 

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

– Albert Schweitzer 

Set Achievable Goals 

Take a moment to self-reflect and prioritize the goals that spark creative excitement—both short-term and long-term objectives. Remember, a journey begins with a single step. 

“The temptation to quit will be the greatest just before you are about to succeed.” – Chinese Proverb 

– Pablo Picasso

Embrace the Business of Art 

Understanding the business aspect of an art career can be just as rewarding as creating masterpieces. Adopt a growth mindset and invest time in learning the ropes. Attend workshops, consult with experienced artists, or seek mentorship in your artistic community. Knowledge is power; with it, you can paint a brighter future. 

“Learn the rules like a pro so that you can break them like an artist.”  

– Pablo Picasso

Building a Supportive Network 

Celebrating each other’s achievements and encouraging one another during challenging times is essential. Make connections with like-minded artists and explore new opportunities for collaboration and inspiration. Share stories, successes, and struggles so everyone can learn and grow. 

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”

– Edgar Degas 

Stay True to Your Artistic Vision 

Ultimately, it’s about staying true to your heart and the passion that fuels your creativity. Strike a balance between your art career and personal life, gathering inspiration from your experiences. 

“Every artist was first an amateur.”  

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


Managing expectations within your art career is an ongoing journey of self-discovery, growth, and empowerment. Embrace your uniqueness and stay true to your vision as a way to navigate the art world. Trust your instincts, and remember that within each of us lies a resilient spirit that can weather any storm. Together, let’s paint a bright path ahead! 

The banner image is AI-generated. Responding to my prompt, AI algorithms created it.


art business, art career, art marketing

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  • Hi Barney,

    Your advice is always perceptive and personal. As you know, I actively sold art to Interior Designers as a “road warrior” into my seventies. During the 20 years I was an art rep I accumulated an extensive collection of artwork, my own and by artists and publishers, I represented. Kind of like the 75-year-old artist with an ever-growing inventory of her paintings with no desire to continue to spend time and effort on marketing, galleries, and shows.

    My art – more than 1,000 pieces – was just sitting unseen and unsold in portfolios. It took up a large eight drawer flat file and overflowed beyond. It hurt me to think that no one was enjoying it. Then I down-sized my home twice and just keeping it became a problem.

    Here’s my solution: I knew many IDs, including many who became good friends. I had done business with one exceptional partnership right here in my home town. They were both active in, and often held offices, in the ASID. They knew all of the other ASID members in the area and had a large studio and warehouse. They also did pro-bono design work for worthy organizations – Hospice, the Boys and Girls Clubs, funded a yearly scholarship an Ringling College of Art and Design.

    And they had space for my art collection, which I put in their hands with instructions to make it available (no cost) to other ASID members as they see fit. I still have access to the art for any purposes I want or need. Perhaps your correspondent would consider doing the same with her overflow. I think a call to her local area ASID could lead to a similar arrangement.

    At some point, we come to realize LIFE is really about giving – not getting. The satisfaction of helping others through what we create or contribute (like your generous advice to artists) brings the greatest joy! I enjoy sharing in this on-line group and through books and articles at http://www.amazon.com/author/harrisondick.

    • Dick,
      Thank you for sharing your insights. Your generosity and use of the vast collection of art you acquired is a lesson for all of us. You offer my reader an excellent suggestion. I will make sure she has a chance to read my post and your comments.

  • HI Barney, Wow your post today made me realize something really huge. I’m so busy making art to sell, that it’s been such a long time since I’ve painted just for the sheer joy & pleasure of it. When you make your living from the sale of your art, it’s easy to overlook how important it is to take time just to paint something that interests me, and not care if it sells or not. On a regular I need to take the pressure off and paint just for me. I know it will keep me fresh and engaged.

    • Hi Fiona, It is my pleasure to provide information you find helpful. Life and art don’t always have to be about making money. As the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!”

  • Hello Barney,
    It would be great to see credit /attribution for the images that you use with your articles, even if it is AI. This shows respect for all artists.

    • Interesting perspective. I have lately begun using a combination of AI-generated art and graphic design tools to create images for my articles. They add a different element to the process. Since 2005, prior to the availability of AI-generated images, I have used a combination of stock photography and graphic design elements to create designs to accompany my posts. A few years ago, I stopped using typography in the designs because it competes with the title overlay the theme provides. Based on your suggestion, I have begun adding this announcement to the bottom of my posts: “The banner image is AI-generated. Responding to my prompt, AI algorithms created it.”

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