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
As a visual artist, finding balance is essential for having satisfying and rewarding experiences. But getting there sometimes comes with challenges, primarily finding the time and energy to work on art projects while caring for families and tending to jobs and finances.
If not dealt with, the pressure of juggling conflicting goals can result in guilt, bitterness, and burnout. But regardless of your circumstances, you can steer clear of them by firmly deciding to live your best life as a visual artist. And I urge you to try to balance your personal life and your work as a visual artist. This is the way to a creative, fulfilling life.
Managing time, energy, and your best self.
Effectively managing time and energy is critical to finding balance as a visual artist. The baseline strategy for attaining balance is to set realistic goals and give yourself adequate time to complete them. Rather than trying to do everything at once, you’ll find it’s much easier to break your goals into manageable chunks and focus on one thing at a time. Prioritizing your time and energy helps you stay sane, organized, and productive—which means more studio time.
Another critical aspect of managing time and energy is self-care, which includes taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental health. Finding balance as a visual artist means giving yourself time to relax and recharge to help you stay motivated and inspired. It’s the only way to give yourself and everyone else the best version of yourself.
Setting boundaries is also essential when balancing artmaking with other responsibilities. For example, communicating your needs to family and friends can help them understand your art’s importance, make time, and respect your boundaries.
It would be best if you had solid blocks of creative and business time to get things done in your art business. You probably give and take on different jobs and time blocks to keep your home running. Overlay those times as well as similar time commitments from other household members. Then look for available slots for your “art time” that don’t compete and make them sacred.
Finally, train potential interrupters to respect your “art time” and be respectful of their time and your other commitments to make setting boundaries work for everyone. I bet you do more for them, so make “art time” sacred to them too.
Balancing artistic integrity and making a living.
Another concern many visual artists face is making a living from art without sacrificing artistic integrity. Many artists feel pressure to create commercial or popular art to sell it, but this can feel at odds with their creative vision. For artists who feel like this, it’s important to explore alternative income streams.
Imagine how to live your best life and make and market your art on your terms. Often, it’s best to work to support your art rather than create and sell your art to support you. It’s a big difference with no poor choices. The answer is whatever works best for you, with no judgment allowed— and you can change your mind.
Finding balance for visual artists with alternative income streams.
Grants and residencies are a great way to support your artmaking without compromising your artistic vision. These programs provide artists with financial support and resources to create new work. Also, teaching opportunities such as workshops, classes, or online tutorials can be a great way to make money from your art without sacrificing your artistic integrity.
Another way to make a living from art and stay true to your vision is to be selective about the galleries or art fairs you participate in and ensure they align with your artistic goals and values. You can also create unique side jobs using your creativity, skills, interests, and advantages such as location or contacts.
Fulfillment and satisfaction.
Many visual artists struggle to find fulfillment and satisfaction in their art careers, even when they can make a living from their art. And so, artists get so much value from setting meaningful goals to help them stay motivated and find purpose in their art.
Setting clear and achievable goals can help you stay focused and motivated. Reflect on what you want to achieve with your art, and set specific, measurable, and achievable goals that align with your values and artistic vision.
Lean into your mission.
Staying inspired and finding ways to connect with other artists and the art community is how to lean into your mission to live your best life as an artist. Joining a group or an association can be a great way to stay connected and motivated and get feedback on your art.
Dealing with creative blocks and staying motivated over the long term can be challenging for many visual artists. The way to overcome these challenges is to remain open to new ideas and perspectives and to be patient with yourself. Remember that even the most successful artists must deal with creative blocks and that it is a normal part of the creative process.
The journey is the thing.
Ultimately, finding balance as a visual artist is a personal journey that requires exploration, experimentation, and self-reflection. By managing your time and energy, exploring alternative income streams, and setting meaningful goals, you can create a sustainable art career that lets you live your passion.
Go your own way.
Appreciate that every artist is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to these challenges. By looking at and researching different points of view and methods, you can give yourself the tools you need to find your way to balance, fulfillment, and happiness as a visual artist.
Recognize that you don’t have to follow traditional art marketing advice; instead, you can create your way of reaching success and fulfillment in your art career. Keep experimenting, learning, growing, and, most importantly, staying true to yourself and your artistic vision.
Success is personal.
It’s not easy being a visual artist, but it also offers enriching potential. To find balance in your art career, you must manage your time and energy, look for other ways to make money, and set meaningful goals. Surrounding oneself with positive influences and letting go of the need to please others is also vital.
Finally, visual artists must recognize that success as an artist is rarely first measured by financial gain or the number of pieces they sell. Instead, measure your success as an artist by how happy you are and how much using your creativity and imagination in making your art fulfills and inspires you. You can stay true to yourself and your artistic vision in your life and business and still enjoy the outcome.
Want to achieve balance and success in your life and art business?
Help is here. Look no further than AMXtra, the digital newsletter for visual artists of all skill levels. With twice-monthly tips and strategies on affordable and innovative marketing, as well as advice on how to live well as a working artist, AMXtra helps you navigate the business side of the art world and find success.
Take advantage of this unique opportunity to find balance and enjoy your life and business as a visual artist. Subscribe today and start unlocking the secrets to a fulfilling art career.