By Carolyn Edlund
The other day I talked with a gentleman and his wife during a consultation who were working together diligently to produce and sell his art. It was a real pleasure to strategize with a team of people who were totally supportive of each other.
But that’s not always the case. Many times, artists work in isolation, feel a lack of support, and have to constantly battle their own lack of confidence as well as family or others who don’t believe in them.
Why does this happen? It’s one consequence of being an artist, and of being exceptional. You see, the vast majority of people don’t feel they have any special talent. They spend their work days fighting rush hour traffic, hating their boss, and wishing they had a better job. It’s been reported that 70% of Americans are “going through the motions” in their workplace – pretty depressing, huh?
They don’t even consider taking control of their futures by becoming an entrepreneur, let alone being an artist!
Most people feel they can’t create art – or sing, dance or act. They may watch reality shows that celebrate these creative talents. They would love to be like those artists. And the truth is that they are jealous of you, my friend. When you put yourself out in the world as an artist, you are publicly sharing your soul, declaring what you are passionate about. And that’s risky. Naysayers are part of the downside.
On the upside, I have found the most supportive and validating people are the ones who are successful creatives themselves, comfortable being entrepreneurs who proudly love their jobs. They have been in your shoes. They are confident and more than happy to give a hand and some advice to new entrepreneurs who can benefit from their experience and wisdom.
What I’ve Learned
The Artsy Shark blog started out in 2009 as a labor of love. I closed my studio years ago but still wanted to share what I knew with other artists. I certainly don’t know everything, so I immediately sought out the knowledge and assistance of experts – and they responded favorably. Every single time.
In fact, I have never been treated rudely by anyone in the art world whom I contacted for assistance. They have given generously of their knowledge, agreed to write articles, or be interviewed. Many have become friends.
There are other art bloggers out there who do what I do. I don’t see them as competition – in fact, we often work as partners. Lori McNee, Cory Huff, Alyson Stanfield, Barney Davey and others are wonderful sources of information for artists. We promote and share each other’s businesses. We promote art and artists. As a result, everybody wins. Our network of mutual support works.
Artists themselves are some of the most generous people I know. They will jump to help you anchor your show booth in a wind. They will share the names of their best suppliers, congratulate you on your new gallery show, vote for your art in a competition, and often purchase it. They know that it takes many artists together to draw a crowd to an art or craft fair.
The best way to deal with the naysayers is to hang out with your art community, your group of cheerleaders and fellow creatives who are willing to live their art out loud. Go in trusting that you will receive the support.
Leap! The net has already appeared.
Art Credit: Jan Crooker. See more of her work here.