Is your art career in a rut? Are you ready to take it to a new direction? The time to do it may be now.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. – Yogi Berra
Are you finding yourself stuck in a rut? Are you good at creating the art you are marketing today, but find you have created a niche too small to meet your ambition?
Or, maybe you are creating art that is so generic in its subject matter that is hard to distinguish it from other artists’ work. This is not good for your art career, or your creative psyche.
There is the possibility you are succeeding in your art career with your current look, but are bored silly and frustrated by painting in the same theme. Nevertheless, you continue to slog through because you abide by the country wisdom that says, “Dance with the one that brung ya.”
While there is some truth in that adage, there is a flip side that says you can’t get better if you don’t try new things and take influence from different directions. The best times to make such a switch would either be early on when you sense you are not getting it right when no one knows who you are, or when you have established a body of recognizable work. Bruce Springsteen didn’t venture on his own until he had enjoyed substantial success with The E Street Band.
If you find your art career is in a rut, or your niche is too small, a good suggestion is to study the market, find what is selling well, and determine among the trending patterns what most appeals to you. Or, maybe you just need to take the time to examine what you are doing.
It could be you have developed some really good reliable techniques that allow you to create art that is giving you some success. However, when you investigate your art career honestly and deeply, you realize you may even be on a track taking you to a pleasant, safe place, but no where near where you want to go, or know you can go if you free yourself.
I have a blogger friend not in the art market. He is authoritative, and has attained reasonable success because he is experienced and gifted at what he does. Recently, he had an epiphany, or perhaps an ongoing awakening regarding his blogging career. He has come to realize that the success he once envisioned has not materialized because of him.
What my friend has come to learn is that although he enjoys toiling in his niche, and is respected for what he does, that he is not fully committed to pursuing it with ambition and gusto. Because he can churn out the work and show a profit from his efforts, he has stuck to his knitting, so to speak. But, he’s hit a ceiling and doesn’t see a way to rise higher. He has found doing something you are good at, but not being passionate about, has limitations. The limitations, he admits, are mostly self-imposed, but real all the same.
My friend is now willing to admit to himself he is afraid to leave the comfort and known cash flow of his current niche in order to take the leap to something potentially more lucrative, and more importantly, more soul-satisfying. I applaud him for having the self-awareness to come to these conclusions on his own, and for the courage to face his fears, frustrations and desire to break free, and share them with colleagues like me.
My advice is to you and to him, is to not abruptly jump ship from the current situation, but rather steadily work at building the new business model. Much of what he does now is transferable, he is just seeking to take his creativity, and his ability to connect with others, to a bigger audience.
I wish him all the best, and told him I will see him at the top. If you find a bit of yourself in a similar dilemma, I will look for you up there as well.