Some people create art because they simply love to make art, and others make art to make money. This doesn’t mean someone cannot sell their work and also love art. I have a huge passion for pyrography and I decided to make a living selling my work.
Making money from just artwork can be extremely difficult, so I needed to come up with another way to create some income. A “cash cow” so to speak. For the next six months, my focus was to create as many leather and wooden products that would fit my brand and would also sell with a high profit margin.
Obviously, some ideas are better than others. Some of the products sold horribly, others did alright, but one item took off! I had learned what I needed to make this plan work. This whole process took around a year to come together but it was a a huge accomplishment. However, this did not come without sacrifice. That whole year consisted of being a lonesome recluse, working almost every day with no social life, and being a p.o.s. without a job in a few peoples eyes.
The following year, the plan was put into action. I put my full attention into my best selling product and pyrography. When I wasn’t selling leather goods, I worked on building up my art inventory for shows. At some point in the summer of 2018, I was on backorder. Talk about being over whelmed! I spoke with someone I am close with looking for advice and I was told “It is a good problem to have.” He was not wrong. I was still frustrated about not being able to fill my art inventory, but it was because business was actually starting to pick up! It took a little while to acclimate. Needless to say, I managed.
I’ve learned a lot this past year, but I know I haven’t “arrived”. There is much more I have to learn. If it was possible to go back in time to give myself any advice, it would be the following. I hope you find value as well.
Growing as an Artist
Clearly define what you want from art
Step out of your comfort zone/set higher standards for yourself
Learn from others (when asking for advice, consider the source)
If you copy one persons art style, you are copying . Copy many people’s art style, then you are original (read “Steal Like An Artist” for more on this subject)
Keep a list of ideas/goals to accomplish that is constantly being updated
Make a list of areas that need improving on and do it - do not avoid things that you need work on; it will just be harder later
Always have more than one project going at once. If you get stuck or frustrated with a project, you can simply walk away and work on another project. Productive Procrastination (also learned from “Steal like an Artist”)
Always carry a sketchbook or notebook with you at all times - when you have the opportunity to write or sketch, take it!
Practice daily - when something new is learned, put it to practice right away
Your “why” is the foundation of you as an artist
Use your “why” to push yourself when things get difficult or discouraging
You do not need to take classes to grow as an artist
You may not be able to directly practice your art anywhere if you are a sculptor, painter or something else messy but you can practice indirectly. Maybe, research for better material or sketch an idea for your next painting. Where you are should not stop you from growing. In fact, it just may force you to think outside the box and reassess how you practice.
Surround yourself with other artist, entrepreneurs, musicians, etc. anyone who is creating success around themselves and learn
Avoid those who put you down and hold you back from accomplishing your goals
Surround yourself with those who constantly encourage you. Especially those who encourage you when you are down