7 Ways To Stop Living In The Past Before It Kills Your Future Art Career

Pigment Landscape 3-Wave Copy 2

Marisa D. Aceves. Pigment Landscape 3: Wave

For more digital photography and painting check out my site at acevesart.com

You know that feeling when you desperately want to move forward with your art career, but you just can’t seem to push those nagging insecurities, irrational fears and unsavory past events out of your mind.

“It’s ridiculous,” you tell yourself.

There is no apparent reason why the past should get in the way of the present, but inevitably it does.

Cleverly covering up your pessimistic view of the world, your art and the people in your life, you naively push your discomfort and general dissatisfaction down so that no one sees that you are effected by a crippling career killing enigma that few people understand, yet many experience, getting stuck in the past.

The daily pattern generally begins with comparing your present earnings with those of other artists working in the same medium.

You then bemoan the fact that they have probably finished their series before you have; yours is taking so much time to complete that you are not really sure exactly when it’s going to get done.

 Breathing heavily as you sigh with the passing of each ego deflating thought, you finally begin to give your precious studio time to mentally reliving all the career mistakes you have made and all the negative interactions  you’ve had with past clients, professors, friends family and acquaintances.

Does your future have to look like your past?

Can you ever gain the respect and recognition you want so badly.

Will you ever move beyond the vicious cycle of negativity that keeps you trapped in a way back machine with no exit door in sight?

There is a door that leads to the present, if you choose to dwell here, but you have to make an honest effort to leave past land behind.

Stepping into the present after you have mentally lived in the past is never easy, but by strategically addressing those areas that steal your peace, sleep and overall confidence, you can learn to stay focused on the things that you need to do to make your career happen.

1) Don’t Marinate In The Past, Plan For The Present So You Can Have a Future – There are few things that can make you more anxious then not knowing which activities you need to finish first.  Lack of structure can cause you to feel confused and hurried. As a result, you can’t enjoy the art you love to do or gain the exposure that you desire because you have never made a decision to write down the goals that you wish to reach in each area of your art business. There are some areas you will need to address immediately before you decide to tackle larger more complicated projects. An added bonus to making a list of all of the goals that you will need to meet to give your art business a better chance at success, is that after you reach a goal, you can check it off your list. This will give you a feeling of satisfaction as you can see in real time that you actually are moving forward.

2) Stop Hiding And Go Seek – While you might prefer to spend all of your time creating art, you need to reach out to your local arts community as well as looking for appropriate venues to showcase your art.  It is easy to worry about not having the skills to take the opportunities that you see around you.  Don’t aim for the opportunities for which you are not yet qualified, but do seek out those opportunities that are within or appropriate to you specific level of ability and experience. Remind yourself this will change as you grow in skills and experience.

3) Move It Or Lose The Day To Negativity – An overabundance of negativity can eventually lead to procrastination and inactivity.  Instead of beating up on yourself every time you feel that you are not moving fast enough or planning is taking too long, consider the things that you can get done at the moment.  For instance, if one of your paintings is taking a long time to dry because of stormy weather, you could tweak your artist statement, research current art world trends, or prepare packages to ship to galleries. What you are working on at the moment may not be what you want to be doing, but at least you are taking care of other important areas of your art business.

4) Study Don’t Worry – Spending hours worrying about whether or not you are good enough to have your own art business wastes time. All the worry in the world won’t improve your skills only diligent study and preparation. There is no easy way to do this, but you can encourage yourself by realizing that over time you will improve your style and technique.

5) Meditate On Criticism That Is Constructive Not Destructive – None of us like to be criticized, but when it gets downright nasty, the sting is often hard to forget. While you may not like people telling you how and in what way you need to improve, it’s necessary for growth.  Focus on positive constructive criticism, the kind where the people that are giving the critique have you best interest at heart not the destructive type in which people tear you apart and berate your artwork  just to make themselves feel better. Clearly, in these particular cases it is the art bullies own insecurities that result in vicious behavior.

6) Eat Your Humble Pie, But Don’t Undervalue Your Abilities- One of the quickest ways to become resentful is to undervalue you abilities and your artwork.  When you make a practice of constantly giving away or undercharging for you work, people will get the impression that you don’t place much value on what you do. Unscrupulous people will gleefully take advantage, while nicer folks will scratch their heads in disbelief and then either forget about what you do or question your credibility.

7) Take A Realistic Not Surrealistic Perspective On The Things That Are Holding You Back- If you are prone to negativity, you probably catch yourself blowing everyday frustrations our of proportion. Throughout the course of your career, you will always find some things that you will need to work on. Make an honest effort to view these daily frustrations and occasional setbacks as they really are not as you feel they are. When you learn to separate your feelings from the actual events that are taking place, you can then come up with a plan to work on and eventually overcome these areas of difficulty.

 The past is called the past because it happened before this moment; it is not happening in this moment unless you decide you want to live there. While the past, although sometimes miserable, is familiar, the present offers new chances to establish better more productive practices that can change the way you function and view your role as an artist.

When Am I Going To Like My Art? Learning to Let Go of Unrealistic Expectations of Yourself and Your Art

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Marisa D. Aceves. Untitled. digital photography http://www.acevesart.com/

article by Marisa D. Aceves

At some point in our lives, many of us know instinctively, that we are called to be artists.

In the beginning, we pour over art magazines, sketch or doodle in our spare time, snap photos of eager relatives, build alien cities with legos, and dance and sing to our favorite music; everything seems possible in the wonderful world of fantasy that we create for ourselves.

Then we collectively come to our senses and realize that we have to learn a specific set of skills to truly be able to express ourselves the way we had originally intended.

The ongoing process of learning is never easy, it’s often an ego crusher.

We stumble, crash and burn as we try to emulate the work of our favorite artists.

Other people laugh and point at our efforts, trying to discourage us from pursuing our creative passions.

No matter what we do, we feel we just can’t seem to measure up and yet we are to darn stubborn to give up our dreams; we will continue even if we have to walk with our heads held low as we soon learn to adopt the title that best suites our level of ability -student.

Everyone wants to be called teacher. No one wants to be called student,pupil etc., but that is exactly what we are at different periods in our lives.

As we push through several how to articles, academia, and instructional videos, we constantly fight our impulse to give in to a perfectionistic view of our work.

We constantly compare our work to the work of people that have had years of training and experience.

We don’t want to hate our work or to feel ashamed of what we can currently produce, but when we see the obvious discrepancies between our work and theirs, we can harbor unnecessary  feelings of doubt, insecurity and shame.

At the very least, we can dwell in our feelings of inferiority, which may lead to an uncomfortable state of melancholy, at the worst we can lose altoghether the joy initially associated with creating art.

Much of our art based anxiety stems from unrealistic expectations about ourselves and our art.

We wrongly equate our performance with our self-worth; once we do that we set ourselves up for self-sabotage.

Before you give up and give in to unrealistic expectations, try to keep these helpful tips in mind:

1) Concentrate On Learning Not Judging – As you begin to learn a variety of skills and techniques associated with your medium, you are bound to run into problems. Don’t let this discourage you. Some things will be easier for your to master, others more difficult. This is the case for almost every artist and has absolutely nothing to do with your value as a person. Instead of judging your work because of the difficulties that you may be having, try to concentrate on learning and improving the skills that you are required to have to succeed.

2) Use Comparisons For Growth Not Personal Putdowns – It is easy to compare your work to the work of others with years of experience and then put yourself down because you fail to create work that is the same quality or reflective of a similar skill level.

If your must compare your work to the work of other artists, do so for growth not because you wish to be them or somehow inherit their abilities through osmosis. Study their strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps there are books or other art related instruction that can help you pick up the skills that you need. Check our where they got their education. Did they go through a special training program?

3) Let Go of The Fear of What Others Will Think of Your Work As You Learn – Sure, your friends, family and collegues can mock your personal artistic struggle as you try to grasp difficult to master skills and concepts, but do they have the courage to attempt the journey that you have presently embarked on. No, many of them do not. Most of the time, they wish that they could brave the uncertainty of the world of creativity, but they are to concerned with what others would think, so they do not even dare to attempt it. Sometimes, you will find that you are your biggest critic. You marinate in what others tell you that you are to believe about your skill level and abilities and then you proceed to criticize yourself. Instead, focus on the fact that you are gradually trying to improve you knowledge and skills so that you can create your best art.

Eventually, you can learn to give yourself permission to be perfectly human.

Human artists like you and I make mistakes as we learn to create, but this does not take away from our overwhelming desire to share with other people the joys and rewards of being artists and appreciating art.

While unrealistic expectations can put a damper on learning and productivity, we can face them with the understanding that like other problems we encounter, there are always solutions.

What Is Your Artistic Legacy?

Grandmother's House 1st Bedroom

 

Marisa D. Aceves. Grandmother’s House: 1st Bedroom. digital photography

Years from now…legacy

article by Marisa D. Aceves

For the last three months our minds, hearts, and lives have been tied up in preparing Eloisa’s house for sale.

Although things have slowed down considerably, I have still managed to find solace in faithfully recording some small treasures and a few rooms that remind me of my grandmother’s love.

We will make the long trip to her house again this coming week, but the journey will be a bittersweet one.

Potential buyers will traipse through the long corridor with its’ gold linoleum floors, gradually making their way through the living room, bedroom, kitchen and bath.

Eloisa was not her house; it was only a place she occupied for a certain period of time.

She has been gone for fourteen years, yet our memories of her remain.

It is not as though she sat up one day and announced that she was going to have a wonderful life and endear herself to many of the people that she came into contact with, but that is exactly what she did and all within the small, intimate confines of a typical Texas neighborhood.

The world may find the existence of an ordinary housewife boring even inconsequential.

“There’s not much of a story to tell”, they’d say under their breath preferring to read and write about flamboyant, drunken playwrights or headstrong, oversexed politicians.

There is a story to tell.

While the majority of the world may lack the imagination to see the overlooked beauty and profoundness of everyday occurrences, my grandmother knew that it is a series of small moments that make up our lives not just a couple of huge, game changing events.

If we can maintain a constant attitude of gratefulness for each and every second we are blessed to experience, we will never lose the child-like sense of wonder that leads to happiness.

She grew up sheltered from the persistent pessimism of her day.

Simple swatches of left-over wrapping paper were saved fastidiously, but not out of fear that she would not have enough of the everyday necessities we often take for granted.

“Someone else will need them!,” she would say as she carefully cut the small pieces of tape that sealed her latest birthday present, gently folding the paper into a neat rectangle for a neighbors future use.

Whenever someone was hungry, she always had beans, buttery tortillas and pinched star cookies ready to take home.

My grandmother lived her life for others; the majority of the things she did or said revolved around what was best for them.

She never judged you because you had problems; she would always pray for you and give you a big hug when you were ready to leave.

Eloisa’s legacy was a life of unconditional love and acceptance; it was a life steeped in spiritual simplicity.

Our legacy might be a different one than my grandmother’s, but all of us have an intense longing to be loved and remembered.

We want to know that somehow in this crazy, unpredictable world we made a difference.

What is your artistic legacy?

Is your work a way of life?

Does it illustrate your dreams, fears, and hopes?

What does it reveal about the way you view yourself and others?

Will you make a name for yourself and die lonely, or will you end this life with gratitude surrounded by friends and family?

Can you really have it all or do you believe you must sacrifice everything for your art?

These are questions only you can answer?

Perhaps your legacy will be based on a mantra you invent when you’re sixteen years old or maybe like Eloisa you will simply live an artful life that speaks for itself.

The Key To Finding Inspiration In Unexpected Places Part 2

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Marisa D. Aceves. Bubble Landscape III (Red). digital photography http://www.acevesart.com/

article by Marisa D. Aceves

I am sure that you have heard the tried but always true saying, “Inspiration is were you find it”, but what if you’re having trouble finding a source of inspiration.

Everywhere around you, popular culture conditions you to believe that if you don’t do it “BIG” it isn’t worth doing.

If you don’t capture some huge monumental event or make a historical breakthrough, then the art you produce isn’t worth doing.

While we all would like to give into the “I’m not doing it “BIGGER” yet so therefore it’s not better” despair, we need to remember that life is not full of “BIG” events, it’s full of many “small” ones.

These small events like spare change in your pocket may not seem like much at first, but they quickly add up to make the “BIGGEST” event you will ever experience, your life.

You can gain both inspiration and insight if you pay attention to the “little” things that surround you.

It’s these “little” things that people cherish, though they are often overlooked even forgotten.

The story behind the picture featured above is a simple one.

A family excursion to the local Dollar Store led to the search for a familiar object to photograph.

Initially, we had decided to pick up some plastic sandwich bags and various other items we would need for the weeks chores.

When we walked in, we headed for the far left of the store.

Measuring cups, plastic ladles, and chip clips lined the isle.

Nothing really struck me as interesting until “it” popped up right in front of me.

The small transparent plastic napkin holder sat on the bottom shelf.

I picked it up instantly examining the many colors shining through it’s beaded surface.

This was the object I was going to photograph.

To the undiscerning eye it was just a cheap picnic napkin holder, but I knew it had potential.

I could choose to see it as a napkin holder and pass it by, but I decided to make it my subject.

The napkin holder would represent more than just a napkin holder, it would serve to deliver a message about the beauty and wonder in common objects and everyday life.

It was my personal challenge to make this common object interesting.

I had to give it life.

I had to help others see the aesthetic value of what would otherwise be considered disposable and forgettable, because if they could do this with a common object, they could learn to approach their lives and the people that they met with appreciation and gratitude.

A fellow artist and photographer, Misty Dreamer 10, tweeted a picture of a beautiful sunset with the message that everyday was beautiful you just had to choose to see it.

Artistic inspiration is all around us; it is in common objects, our relationships, nature, our pets etc.

We just have to choose to see it.

Why Your Differences Are The Hidden Blessings That Can Help Your Art Stand Out

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Marisa D. Aceves. Distant Memory. digital photography http://acevesart.com/

article by Marisa D. Aceves

In a sea of artists producing similar work and selling it successfully, it is easy for artists that create work outside the accepted status quo to feel both bewildered and distressed about their future.

Many of us know there are few certainties in life and yet we crave stability; We often seek it out even if it means that we give up pursuing our latest innovations.

The fear of failure is alive today as it has been for centuries.

It’s not going away.

We have to battle it one piece of artwork at a time.

Despite the overwhelming feelings some of us face as we force ourselves to push forward into unchartered artistic territory, the very things that make us different are the important elements (if used correctly) that can help us stand out.

Here are some helpful tips for overcoming the perceived mental blocks that keep us from confidence in our creativity:

1) Research Your Niche 

Carefully study what other people in your niche are creating.  How are they marketing their work? Who is their target audience?  What works for them? What doesn’t? Add your own personal voice and style to differentiate yourself from artists producing similar work. We all would like to do our own thing. We should produce the artwork that holds the most interest for us, but sometimes when the general population have difficulty with accepting the type of work we are producing, we may also have to look at what does appeal to people and why? When you complete this exercise, you are able to get outside of yourself. You begin to get valuable insights into how others view things.

2) Create Your Brand Around Your Unique Vision

Branding is a necessity, because it helps others to both know and trust you.  If an audience doesn’t know you, than trust will be difficult if not impossible.  As you market your work across different social media platforms, make sure that you are consistent with your overall message. Generally people are more likely to respond to new and different art when you reach them through your message. If your message resonates with them, then your art business has a much better chance of survival. The art then is a symbol for that message. Each time people see your work, they will think about that message because you have given them something to relate to.

3) Network With Other Artists 

Make friends and business connections with other artists.  Some may have similar interests; others may not.  When you have similar interests with other artists you may share what works and what does not. If you are in contact with artists that may not have similar interests, sometimes they can help you to view your niche from a unique perspective. Connections are key to building a successful art business.  When you reach out to others for support and encouragement, don’t forget to provide it.

4) Become A Storyteller

People want to know the story behind your art.  Share both obstacles and inspiration, but be careful not to divulge inappropriate or personal information that could hurt you and your business. When writing about your story, consider these questions:

a) What are you trying to say with your work?

b) What is important to you and why?

c) How does your world view effect the type of work you produce?

5) Share Your Success Stories

When people like and trust you, they are more likely to buy from you and promote your work.  There is nothing wrong with letting people know about a sale that you have made, a contest you have won, your latest commission or a show that features your work as long as you do this appropriately and politely. Simply informing your audience about peoples’ appreciation of your products and services is acceptable. Constantly boasting about your abilities or how much money you make can eventually irritate your audience and keep them from visiting your website so practice discretion.

While researching or creating your niche is a challenge, remember this: No thing worth doing is ever easy. The healthiest approach to tackling difficult aspects of your art business is to view them as both learning opportunities and teaching moments. If you apply the same mixture of discovery and discipline to your marketing efforts, finding your niche will be more enjoyable and less intimidating.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me.  I’d love to hear from you.

The Key To Finding Inspiration In Unexpected Places

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Marisa D. Aceves. Shredded Paradise. digital photography http://www.acevesart.com/

article by Marisa D. Aceves

 

The closet door is rotten.

Old wood from the roof pollutes the rain water that has been collecting in the pots, pans and storage containers we strategically placed on the porch.

We know the sleeping porch will eventually collapse.

My grandparents house is 114 years old.

Everything in it is falling apart, rusting away and crumbling into oblivion. 

The whole scene might make you cry if you dare to follow us up those leaning cement steps to the front door, yet there is hidden beauty in our pain.

We must prepare the house to be sold as is.

It is the last connection we have to a time when the world seemed less chaotic. 

 Nothing in the house appears to have any value except for its location.

It sits right in the heart of our city’s historical district.

The guidelines require that the front of the house must be preserved, but the inside can be stripped of it’s character and remodeled. 

Do we need this old house?

No.

Do we wish that we could keep it in the family?

Yes.

However, this is not possible.

Some people might say that cleaning an old house isn’t inspiring. 

There’s nothing exciting about it; especially when you know that its the beginning of closure.

Inspiration though is something you you decide to find. 

You have to choose to see what is valuable in each and every situation. 

Recently, I have decided to find inspiration in the hidden treasures that I find as I clean the dust off the antique furniture and floors.

Sometimes messes are potential masterpieces.

The key to finding inspiration in unexpected places is to keep your mind open to the possibilities that surround you. 

No one is going to drop by and tell you, “Yes, this will make a great picture. Take it.” 

Instead, it is a feeling that you get. 

It is almost instinctual.  

There is no formula for knowing what is great subject matter; each artist has to discover that for themselves.

Breaking old patterns and reexamining old patterns can lead to new discoveries.

Look at the things that you do every day. 

Approach them from a different point of view.

For example, in the above picture entitled “Shredded Paradise”, I noticed that there was beauty in the shredded curtains that use to hang in the second bedroom. 

I was sweeping one minute, then snapping this picture the next. 

Today, I challenge you to see what is great in what everyone else considers ordinary. 

You may find that the subject matter for your next photo essay, painting, sculpture, etc. has been sitting right in front of you. 

It has been unappreciated, undiscovered; it is all yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Our Words and Thoughts Really Can Hurt Us: 10 Strategies For Combating Negativity and The Blues

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Marisa D. Aceves. Glass Bubble Landscape 1. Digital Photography

article by Marisa D. Aceves

Maintaining a positive attitude towards our art and other aspects of our life isn’t always easy.

Past traumas, rejection, career disappointments and failed relationships can temporarily get in the way of happiness.

However, when we constantly find ourselves dwelling on all of the misfortune that we have experienced instead of focusing on our strengths, this practice can not only get in the way of career advancement, it can ruin our emotional, psychological and physical health.

Succumbing to negative thought patterns steals our joy, our energy, and our will to create.

We don’t have to give into negative thoughts, but we often do.

In fact, we are conditioned from birth to think negatively, yet as very small children, the majority of us are essentially positive in our thoughts and actions.

Negative thoughts often lead to negative words about ourselves and others; this vicious cycle continues until we decide we want to change it.

Since the mind has a tendency to keep us thinking about all sorts of things that happen throughout the day, if we remember something negative that happened (something that upset us) this upsetting thought can trigger other upsetting thoughts.

This sets off a chain reaction that seems literally “unstoppable.”

Often worry or insecurities about getting out of our comfort zone in order to reach our goals can paralyze us from taking action in the areas that will ensure our success.

While the mind is trying to protect you and keep you safe, getting out of your comfort zone is essential to your artistic growth.

How do we defend ourselves against our  negative thoughts?

What can we do to set ourselves back on the path to a more positive, healthy outlook?

Here are some suggestions that may help you conquer the current onslaught of negativity:

Carefully Consider Your Present Thinking Patterns – The first step to changing negative thinking patterns is recognition. You have to recognize what types of negative thoughts are influencing your actions. When your are able to identify what types of negative thoughts you tend to entertain and in what areas negative thoughts occur, you can then begin to address the issue. According to Dr. Katharina Star, there are ten types of negative thinking patterns or cognitive distortions that interfere with our ability to think, feel and act in a positive manner. Here is a list with the strategies for combating them:

1) ALL OR NOTHING THINKING – Everything we think about is viewed in extremes of positive or negative. We are either an incredible success or a complete failure.  We are incredibly productive or we get nothing done at all. This way of thinking is extremely inflexible. It keeps us from seeing the step-by-step progress that we are trying to make toward our goals.

Strategy– For each area that causes you to go into black or white thinking, address it with the steps that you are taking to reach that goal each day. You may want to write down the areas that bother you the most. Then take notes of the progress you are making. This is written, visual proof that you are making an effort to move forward.

2) OVERGENERALIZING – When we are feeling down, we make assumptions that situations will always remain the way we once experienced them. We tell ourselves that we’ll never get out of our current situation. This is not necessarily the case, but the words “always” and “never” used negatively limit our view of our lives and potential .

Strategy- Whenever you are tempted to assume or overgeneralize, you should gently remind yourself that the upsetting situation may have been a one time occurrence. One mistake or situation should not determine the outcome of future events. Try to recall pleasant situations in which things did go well to offset thoughts about negative situations, setbacks, or mistakes.

3) MENTALLY FILTERING OUT THE POSITIVE- When we are approaching our lives from a negative point of view we have a tendency to filter out all of the things that are positive in our lives and focus only on the bad or unpleasant things.

Strategy- Count your blessings. Gratefulness helps us to notice what is beautiful and meaningful in our lives.  It helps us to see our gifts and the gifts of others.

4) DISMISSING WHAT IS POSITIVE – When we are discouraged, we have a tendency to ignore what is good in our lives, our achievements and relationships.

Strategy- Remind yourself of all of your successes. Continue to foster healthy, positive relationships by spending quality time with individuals you know love and care about you.

5) JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS – Sometimes we believe misread behaviors in others is due to their dislike of us or their lack of trust in our abilities.  We entertain scenarios of “doom and gloom” believing that every situation that causes us discomfort will end badly.

Strategy- Tell yourself that your fear of peoples’ judgement is often unfounded. You don’t have enough facts that equal proof. Go into each situation focusing only on what is going on in the present.

Stay out of your head and stay engaged.

6) MAGNIFYING AND MINIMIZING PROBLEMS- In this example of distorted thinking, we adopt either a “world is going to end” attitude to every setback we encounter, or we dismiss every opportunity for change that comes along because we believe we don’t deserve it.

Strategy- Discuss your problems and fears with a licensed therapist, a trusted friend or family member. This will help you get a grounded perspective on what you are experiencing.  Reach out to others who can help you see the true nature and amount of attention each emotional episode deserves.

7) EMOTION BASED REASONING- When we are lost in emotion, everything we see and experience  is colored by how we feel.

Strategy- Before allowing the latest bought of anxiety to paralyze you from taking action, you need to remind yourself that emotions lie. Our emotions are lying to us about our abilities and self-worth.  Feelings are not facts, just feelings.  Since emotions are associated with the right brain, engage in an activity which activates the left brain like counting, writing, researching,etc.  This helps to flip the switch on overpowering emotions.

8) WOULD’VE COULD’VE SHOULD’VE STATEMENTS – In the middle of a bad case of the blues, we tend to rehash what we could have, would have or should have done about a disappointing or unpleasant past experience.  This pointless exercise prolongs disappointment .

Strategy- Move on.  Do what you didn’t do yesterday today.  Focusing on changing bad habits that keep you from a more positive outcome.

9) ATTACHING LABELS TO OURSELVES – Low self-esteem and hopelessness contribute to our attributing judgemental labels to ourselves like stupid, worthless, etc.

Strategy- Refrain from labeling. Tell yourself “I know I have to work on this problem, but it doesn’t make me a bad or unworthy person.  There is no one in the world that isn’t touched by something.

10) PLAYING THE BLAME GAME – When we want to avoid dealing with our problems, we resort to self-blame or blaming others.  However, self-blame increases panic and anxiety.  Blaming others for our problems prolongs anger and frustration. It alienates us from our peers.

Strategy – Make plans to address the areas in your life that are frustrating you. Create a chart and write down possible solutions to each problem with small steps that you need to take to reach each goal.

Coping with periods of discouragement can go a long way to improving your creativity. It’s important not to stay discouraged. Eventually, we can conquer the negative thought patterns and words that are holding us back from our best life and creative work.

If There’s No Passion, There’s No Pulse: Why We Need To Take Risks To Create Our Best Art

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Marisa D. Aceves. Corrugated Dune. digital photography

 

If we view our art as a body infused with life-giving ideas and experiences, we instinctively know that when there’s no passion, there’s no pulse. When art is dead, we cry and so do the artists who long to express themselves, but can’t seem to find a reason to speak. Change is threatening.  We know what we are doing; we know what we have done, but how do we make it more meaningful? How do we engage with our art in such a way that it makes others want to engage?

 Sometimes we come to a crossroads where we must make the difficult decision to allow ourselves to experience uncomfortable episodes in our lives so we can truly create great art. Not many of us want to go there. There is where all our insecurities lie. There is full of instability, uncertainty and inevitable disapproval, yet there is where genius lives. 

Inevitably, we must make that difficult choice whether to live or die. Simply breathing and existing is not enough. If we want to make art that has life then we must not be afraid to live our lives. Our lives are our stories. It is from these stories that we can draw inspiration for the artwork that we create. I once read an article by a young writer, Jeff Goins, about living your story. In it he brought up the simple fact that many people avoid living their lives because they are afraid of taking risks. The fear of failure and judgement kill many artists before they begin because they can only focus on all the problems that they will encounter on their journey to success. Instead of allowing themselves to be blindsided by their fear of future events, they need to patiently, and mindfully focus on the prize that individual freedom of expression offers them. They need to complete the journey not give up when obstacles seem insurmountable. Things will not always be the way they are now.  The people that refuse to give up are the people that are holding onto something; they have a vision that they want to see come to fruition . I urge you not to give up, but to continue to see your unique vision through till the end. Find new, exciting reasons to create.  Who knows, maybe we can both inspire and challenge each other to become the artists we were always meant to be.

I guess the question that each and every artist must eventually ask themselves is, “What am I holding onto?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfectionism: The Problem With Dreaming The Impossible Dream

An abstract photograph of foil floral wrapping paper

 

Marisa D. Aceves. Red Wrapper. digital photography 

article by Marisa D. Aceves

Many artists can spend a lifetime training, creating, and fighting to produce that one perfect piece of art that the world will remember.

However, there is a difference between working hard to become the best artist that your particular range of talents will allow and aiming to become a perfect artist.

There are some individuals that become so obsessed with perfection that they forget to enjoy the learning process.

They alienate themselves from their art and the reason why they felt the need to create art in the first place.

Usually, when this situation occurs, procrastination follows as the need to avoid the angst that perfectionism causes overrides all creative endeavors. 

Perfectionism is in effect, dreaming the impossible dream.

Why?

When we aim for it, we are bound to encounter disappointment because the simple truth is that no man or woman is perfect.

If you are not enjoying creating art, why create it.

Getting rid of perfectionist thinking is as much a conscious decision as choosing to be happy. 

The moment we decide to drop perfectionism and choose to approach our life and career from a different perspective, we begin to gain the joy we once lost when we put needless pressure on ourselves.

Be the very best artist that you can be, but don’t fall prey to a perfectionist way of thinking or it will rob you of both the joy you gain from your work and the ability to move forward with your career.

When you find yourself slipping back into faulty perfectionistic thought patterns, gently remind yourself that your work will get better with time, practice, and experience.

A Tale of Two YOUs: Should You Create Art In More Than One Style?

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Artwork by: Marisa D. Aceves. Figurative Landscape 1. enamel on canvas

Article by: Marisa D. Aceves 

It’s true that many artists choose to communicate exclusively in one particular style. 

This common practice is often suggested by many an art professor, gallery owner and online art marketing expert. 

In fact, they are right (well, in a way); your unique style is your brand.

It distinguishes you from other artists competing for the attention of the same established galleries, but what if after years of creating art in your chosen style, you realize that there is something missing?

When your normal burst of creativity seems unfulfilling, should you dare to consider the possibility of another style or medium?

You know instinctively, that you must succeed in marketing one style of work before you proceed, at least that is what the majority of us are led to believe.

An undeniable fear that often creeps up when considering this possibility is the question of wether the art that you are presently creating will suffer as a result of taking that scary but exciting detour.

I believe the answer depends on your answer to a simple question: Are you self-represented or are you gallery represented?

Gallery Representation

If you are gallery represented, the gallery where you signed your exclusive agreement may not want or permit you to sell or even create work in any other style than the one you have been producing. Remember that style together with content/subject matter equal brand.  The gallery uses your brand to sell your work to specific clients.  If the gallery is successful at selling your present brand of work, then they probably won’t share your passion for creating work that is unfamiliar to an established audience. In this case, it becomes a financial issue, as galleries only represent artists whose work they feel they can sell.  Many commercial galleries must make a certain amount of sales to stay open. Your work then is only relevant if it remains “recognizable” and “profitable”.

If you are currently represented by a gallery, I would advise you to check with your gallery to be sure that you understand the terms of your contract.

Self-Representation 

If you represent yourself, you are already becoming aware of the “jack of all trades” juggling act that you face as you have to take on both the advertising and marketing role of a gallery and the creative output of a productive artist. 

 As a self-represented artist, having to market two different styles of work, poses it’s own unique set of challenges.  It means that you have to do twice  the amount of advertising work as well as create significant bodies of work in each style.

Whatever choice that you make, whether you seek gallery representation or you decide to represent yourself, if you plan to create in more than one style, do your research.

So should you take on two markedly different styles?