One of the most common questions I get via social media/email is “How do I make it as an artist?” and the answer is pretty simple. Some people just like to overcomplicate it for their own reasons. A lot of you don’t know me personally but I’m a very passionate person when it comes to art and being successful from it. So if you think I’m being brutally honest just think of it as tough love <3. Here are five things you (and every other artist trying to make it) need to hear to be successful. Oh, and “successful" can mean different things to different people but basically in this context it means being able to support yourself and making a living from loving what you do.
Find your style - THIS IS SO F&%ING IMPORTANT. Please understand that you NEED your own style. Why? No one wants to buy or support artists that look identical to someone else. When you think of the best artists out there, they’ve all brought something to the table that wasn’t there before. It’s very hard to be original in art, almost impossible and I understand that. I’m not always 100% original. BUT, I’ve changed it around in some way or expressed the idea of the concept in a different manner. Experiment with different mediums and see which one you feel most comfortable with. If you don’t have confidence in the tools you use, how are you supposed make your best work?
Quit being scared - So many people won’t take the jump to be an artist because they hear the horror stories. They hear the failures, the embarrassing stories, the struggle. I’m not completely sure if you’re aware but that’s in EVERY SINGLE CAREER. If you want to be a doctor, years and years of schooling and insane amounts of debt. Doesn't exactly sound like a cake walk. Every career has its slow starts and struggle periods, and a lot of the time people don’t see the long term of how it could turn out. They focus on the short term, and short term tells them that if they can’t have it right now, they can’t have it at all. People also forget you’re doing what you fucking love for a living while you’re “struggling”. That’s a lot better than the 63% (studies done in my head) of people that hate their lives while they work to get further in their career (that they also hate).
Not everyone will like your style - So, say you’ve taken the big leap. You’ve put the time in, worked on finding your style and conquered your fears of failing. Now it’s time to hear the critiques. I have a love/hate relationship with this part. It can tear you apart or build you up. Art is ridiculously subjective. I love getting feedback. Good or bad. I’m at the point where I don’t take things as harshly as I used to. Some people will hate it, some will adore it. Either way, the art world can be very judgmental so take nothing to heart. Keep it moving.
You are a business - This is the thing most artists miss. And honestly, it kind of pisses me off. “I’m not a business man, I’m a business, man.” One my favorite lyrics/quotes from Jay Z. You’re an artist, which means you’re literally a business. I know soooo many artists that refuse to promote themselves on social media or take other opportunities for good exposure. Why? Because you’d be selling out? Because that's "not what a real artist does"? Haha…uhm it’s 2016, we live in a digital world. Chances are people will miss your publicly displayed art because they're scrolling thru my IG feed It takes money to make money. It’s painfully simple, pay for some promotion or shout outs somewhere and suddenly your work is placed in front of thousands of people. Let me break it down for you. Money = exposure. Exposure = more of your art bought/more people aware of your work. It’s never been about the money for me and never will be, but I’m not stupid either. 80% of the time you’ll make your small investment back AND THEN SOME. This also goes for supplies and tools. I know artists slapping 5k price tags on stuff who used the cheapest materials and its very apparent. The quality of your work will improve tremendously.
Nothing happens over night - I know some of this sounds like a motivational talk more than anything but thats just because I genuinely get excited about art and seeing people succeed. I’m sure some people are ready to sprint to their work space to create something. That’s really awesome but while you’re using all this energy, don’t forget that just like every other career that it’s a process. Nothing happens over night and nothing that lasts long will come fast. It takes work and dedication to your craft to put yourself in a position to succeed. ‘
***Posting more articles soon so send any topic ideas you have to my email and I’ll to post some neat stuff.
**Please refer to #1 for an explanation and step by step process on how I do my pieces!