Five Opposing Thoughts on an Art Career

There Will Always Be Somebody Better Than You (Unless you are Tiger Woods or Pete Sampras) – the nature of people is to create competition and a pecking order around it.

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

With apologies to F. Scott Fitzgerald, I offer this set of five opposing ideas for your perusal and contemplation:

  1. It's Never Too Late – don't let your age or any other potential drawback mess with your mind. Get started today.
  2. It's Never Too Soon – if you are lucky enough to see your future and desire it; don't let anything get in your way of getting there.
  1. You're Not As Good As You Think – no matter how smug you feel, or how much praise you reap, you are not near your potential. Coasting is the best way to get passed and become unintentionally marginalized.
  2. You're Not As Bad As You Think – on the days when it seems like you chose the wrong profession, take a break, take a walk, drive, hike or mini-vacation, even if just in the backyard. Relaxation helps lower the anxiety that creates negative feelings.
  1. There Will Always Be Somebody Better Than You – the nature of people is to create competition and a pecking order around it. Keep in mind no matter how good you get there are others already poised to surpass your deeds. Learn to cheer them on.
  2. It Will Surprise You Sometimes How Much Better You Are Than Some Established Artists – there is an observable correlation between luck and charisma having as much a profound effect on some successful artists' careers as pure talent. Sure, most aren't going to be Chuck Close, Picasso, Michaelangelo or the best selling artist in your local art guild. But, there will be times when you extend your reach and create something supremely compelling and profound. Learn to be rightly proud of those works. Learn to capitalize upon them too!
  1. There Will Be Art You Are Sure Will Sell Well That Doesn't – while you might have a feel for what your collectors want, there will be some pieces you would bet the ranch on that just don't live up to your expectations.
  2. There Will Be Art You Are Ambivalent About That Draws Great Interest – Trace Adkins, the country music star, had an emotional tribute to his daughter, You're Gonna Miss This. He didn't even put it on an album made at the same time. He thought it was too personal. Instead it became a huge crossover hit.
  1. You Will Make Money In Places You Didn't Think Possible – the first wave of alternative marketing and distribution has come about courtesy of the Internet. What happens next is sure to make those changes seem minimal.
  2. You Will Lose Money Trying To Make Traditional Marketing Pay – sometimes it's really hard to let go of the things we have held dear and believed in for years. Your traditional marketing plans already have undoubtedly been altered by circumstances. While the old ways are not yet moribund, they for sure aren't the basket to carry all your marketing eggs.

Live Your Best Artist's LIfe
Live Your Best Artist’s LIfe
The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.


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