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Use these tips to make your creative life better every day!

man-painting-a-picture

Photo by Ari He on Unsplash

 

article by Marisa D. Aceves

Admit it.
Lately, you’ve struggled with the meaning of life.
It isn’t fair. If it were, everyone you know would be happy, confident, and successful. While you love reading or hearing about rags to riches phenomenons or perpetually positive people overcoming incredible odds, you can’t manage to picture yourself in their shoes.
How do they do it?
No matter what they do or where they go, everybody loves them.
They walk into a gallery, a theatre, a bookstore, etc., and steal the show.

Then you may ask yourself, like David Byrnes, is this my boring life, crappy job, or failed business venture?
When the answer is always a resounding yes, you should consider your thoughts.
What do you think of yourself?
All the challenges you face, the trials and tribulations are never as bad as your mind would like you to believe.
It’s not laziness or lack of ambition that gets in your way, it’s the endless worry about what could go wrong that keeps you from planning for the future and taking action.

But, how do you begin to change the negativity in your head so you can produce a more positive outcome?

You may not always feel like you can take control of your life or make better decisions. Yet, the power is in your hands. Don’t dwell in the past, dreading the future. You can choose to love the life you live right now, even if it doesn’t feel like a lovable life. Better planning and small imperfect steps toward your goals will help you to overcome your natural resistance to change.

 

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Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Decide To Be Happy

People always confuse happiness with feeling happy. They get lost in the mood of the moment, believing that life will never get better. To get out of this all-to-common trap, you must deliberately choose to be happy. What does this mean? Concentrate on what is positive about your experience.
Learning so that you can grow in understanding is more important than winning a prize or receiving an award. Meditate on the things that are working in your life. Maybe you have strong family support. Contentment comes from knowing that the present mood, happy or sad, will pass, but gratefulness and a positive attitude will help you to survive even the toughest challenges.

 

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Photo by Jed Villejo on Unsplash

Run From Perfection

The world sells perfection. Experience tells us this isn’t the case. To learn what not to do, you have to make mistakes. People forget the majority of successful people failed several times before they succeeded. Acceptance is crucial to moving forward despite discouragement and many failed beginnings.

 

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Photo by Juliana Malta on Unsplash

Stay In The Moment

There’s nothing as soul-sucking as choosing to approach the present as if you were living in your past. Many people find themselves revisiting old hurts and disagreements. Their refusal to trust others keeps them from making new, healthy connections. If you’re concentrating on the past, you miss out on the beauty of the present. Don’t let unfortunate events from the past steal your joy. The key to emotional freedom is learning to react appropriately to your surroundings.

 

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Photo by Tom Parsons on Unsplash

Give More Than You Get

Share your gifts and blessings with others in need. You could promote a local charity or spend time with people that have difficulty reaching out. The simple act of giving puts you in a different mindset. You’re active, not passive. Giving keeps you from being self-centered and lonely. Discovering the small impact your continued generosity has on peoples’ lives helps you to see your worth, and the worth of others.

 

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Value Yourself So You Can Value Others

When you value yourself, you avoid enabling people who are only in your life to get something from you. Spending time in an abusive, one-sided relationship makes you bitter. Being thoughtful and forgiving doesn’t mean you should settle for doormat status. If you seek out caring, well-adjusted people, they’re more likely to appreciate your contributions.

 

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Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Make a Plan

A careful, laid out plan to achieve your goals will help you to concentrate on the areas that will get you the results you want. You can spend countless hours multi-tasking, convincing yourself you’re making progress, but are you? The shot-gun approach to marketing, finding your targeting audience or networking only results in failure and frustration. By answering important questions about what you want to achieve and what it takes to get there, you can determine the best course of action. Plans change based on your needs. Make sure you’re flexible when challenges keep you from following your original plan. Perhaps there’s a newer, better way to reach your goal or goals.

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Photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash

Applying these helpful tips takes practice. It’s never easy to break habits or routines that don’t benefit you, especially when it comes to the way you approach life. However, it’s possible. I believe in your tenacity and ability to make positive changes.

 

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abstract photograph of pens

Afraid To Write About Your Art? Use These Easy Tips.

abstract photograph of pens

Marisa D. Aceves. Penscape 1. Digital Photography. 2016.

To view more of my work, please visit acevesart.com.

Article by Marisa D. Aceves

Every artist knows.
Creativity equals happiness.
When you get a new idea, you race to your studio with sparkling eyes and child-like enthusiasm.
Then, you read dozens of art marketing articles telling you to write an artist statement for your website.
People, galleries, and your art-loving aunt need to know why you do what you do.
There’s only one problem.
You’re not sure how to write about your art.
You start to begin, but the inevitable happens.
The joy fades.
Irritation begins.
Your story seems far away.
Why is writing about what you love to do so intimidating?
If the thought of captivating your future collectors makes you succumb to writers’ block and toss your laptop out the window in disgust, you’re not alone.
Let me share with you a simple truth that many artists and creative business owners fail to realize:
You don’t have to be Ernest Hemingway to write about your art.
Learning to craft a compelling story isn’t child’s play.
It takes practice, dedication, and a healthy dose of humility.
You could spend hours learning the long way.
Many people do.
You’re not many people.
That’s why you’re here.
Follow these simple tips, and you’re on your way to success.

Give A Little History

Photo by Jason Wong on Unsplash

Galleries, collectors, and the general public are anxious to know how, when, and why you became an artist.

Some artists take the traditional college/art school route, while others discover their love of art after many years of success in another occupation.
Include this information in the course of writing about your work. If you’re an artist who has a background in other fields of expertise, and you apply this experience to your art, explain how this adds to your unique approach and perspective.

 Write About Your Work Often

Photo by The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash

Practice removes your fear of writing.

While this advice seems scary at first, if you’re still learning, you’re always new at something. Set aside time in the day or week to write down your thoughts and feelings about your work. Create a schedule that you know is easy to keep.

Write-In Small Increments

Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash

Short writing bursts keep you on track.

Sitting yourself down to write for an hour or two can lead to procrastination as you wait there, tapping a pencil to paper, hoping the words will flow. If you know that you freeze when forced with a long, drawn-out job, you may want to spread it out and do other things in between writing. Taking frequent breaks or time alone to reflect eases your anxiety and helps you to collect your thoughts.

Learn From The Writing Of Others

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Research strong artist statements, essays, and grants that have intrigued galleries and collectors in the past.

The best way to learn how to write about your art is to familiarize yourself with the way fellow professional artists write about their work.

When you’re studying articles artists write about other artists, consider these questions:

a) Do they include background information about the artist before describing what they do?

b) Are they providing information about the artists’ level of education, awards, and experience?

c) Is there an attempt to describe what is unique about the artists’ work?

Once you understand how to extract small pieces of information from art articles, you’ll approach yours with less intimidation.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you examine other professionals’ artist statements:

a) What are the main themes or subjects of their work?

b) What is their particular medium?
(ex. Are they a painter, sculptor, photographer, …?)

c) Why do they create their work?

d) Who is their audience?
(ex. Is it for a rural community, animal lovers,…?)

As you read their statements, make sure to answer the questions mentioned above. When you finish, you’ll have a rough map of the information that you’ll need to include in your statement.

 

Edit Your Work

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

Before you publish or submit your writing sample, make sure you correct errors in spelling, punctuation, and delivery. This is especially important when applying for grants and scholarships. You may not get a second chance. Have a writing editor proofread your work for any inconsistencies in style and delivery. Make sure to get additional advice from mentors and other professionals in the industry, so you know what they’re looking for.

 

You can learn to write about your art, or pass on the responsibility to others who may or may not truly understand your vision. Sure, it’s kind of scary at first, but as you face your fears around the art of communication, your steady progress will open up opportunities you could never have imagined.

Be pro-active.
Your art deserves it.

 

Subscribe to acevesart.com to receive news about my art, upcoming shows, and helpful artist resources.

 

A New Year, A New Series/ Thank you to my readers

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Marisa D. Aceves. Whimsical Geometry: Symphonic Creativity. Mixed Media Digital Painting. 2016  

To view or purhase more of my work, please visit acevesart.com

Creativity unbound finds purpose

Embracing the segmented city with a playful wave of color

It fills the void, laying out possibility

I finished 2016 by combining geometric abstract graphics with my abstract photography to create unique mixed media digital artworks. At the start of 2017, I will be launching my new Whimsical Geometry Series, which adds additional expressionist texture and an unexpected dash of whimsy to modern geometric abstraction.

* Aceves Art has a new modern look 👀 ! Feel free to check it out and tell me what you think! I’d love to get you feedback!

For all the patient viewers who have visited my blog, thank you for your interest in my work!

Wherever you find yourself in 2017, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 🎆 🍾 🎉

 

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

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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.

Why Having A Back-Up Plan Provides Greater Flexibility For Your Art Business

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Marisa D. Aceves. Bubble Landscape 3 (Vivid and Juicy). digital photography http://www.acevesart.com/

Some people give up their dream.

It’s sad, but it happens all to often.

When it does, years upon years of disappointment and resentment build.

Then anything mildly associated with creativity pricks pride and pushes buttons.

Nothing is ever satisfying; life has lost its luster.

Why do many otherwise creative people stop making art in times of extreme adversity while their peers continue to freely express themselves no matter what the consequences?

The answer is simple.

Plan A didn’t work.

What is Plan A?

Plan A is the traditional well-traveled route to recognition and success.

The scenario may start a little something like this…:

An artist may have always known especially when he or she was young that they were born to create art.

During their formative years, other people (friends, family members, casual acquaintances, etc.) told them that they had special talent in their chosen medium (drawing, painting, photography, sculpture etc.).

Then like many other artists, they went to college and read about the lives of famous artists throughout the ages and in their naiveté, thought that they were going to leap out of college with countless galleries begging them to sign.

They imagine that their innovative work will be featured in various reputable art publications.

Why they would even have their own star on the walk of art fame!

Hey, sometimes this does happen, but many times it takes several years of hard work, commitment, and contacts to build a successful art career.

Reality hits for the majority of art students.

There’s plenty of competition in college.

All of a sudden, many artists find that they are no longer the center of attention.

Instead they are second best, third best, fourth best in class or maybe they are the least skilled of all of their peers.

Often with academic endeavors there is a constant humbling, a steady chipping away of their once ample self-confidence.

They begin to find out quickly that they don’t know everything there is to know about art.

The more an artist learns, the more they realize how much smarter Jerry Saltz (a leading art critic) is then they are.

After school artists have to focus on building a strong portfolio, gallery submissions and other art related opportunities.

If an artist doesn’t have a mentor or an art world connection, doors grow heavier and more difficult to open.

Family problems, illnesses and financial difficulties can sometimes make creating art more challenging over the years.

At this point, faced with these odds, many talented artists walk away.

Should you?

This is a sad phenomenon, but it doesn’t have to end like this.

People don’t have to kill there art career, they choose to.

Sure, there are several challenges on the road to supporting a healthy art career, but if an artist really loves what they do they will always find an excuse to create even if it is not in the medium in which they started.

Most people start out with Plan A at the beginning of their lives, then after several years of experience move to Plan B, C,  or D.

This is not failure, this is called adaption.

The people that give up after Plan A fails never realize that Plan A, was only one way (one possibility) not the only way.

Plan A may or may not work out for you, but if it doesn’t, know that you are not alone.

Lack of Plan A success has nothing to do with self-worth.

It has nothing to do with the size of your talent.

It is not an indication of your true potential for making a valuable artistic contribution to the world.

You can have an art career in the face of intense adversity, but perhaps it will take a different path, one that’s a little bumpier, a little bit scarier and a lot more rewarding.

Be open to combing your interests, learning something new and applying a myriad of skills to different areas you haven’t explored.

Here are just some of the many options available to artists today:

1) Be Your Own Boss – A gallery may not come knocking on your door right away but you can use many different social media platforms to promote your work. Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook are all helpful tools for artist promotion. People all over the world will see your work. Make sure that you protect your work by copyrighting and watermarking your images. You may also consider selling work over your website to prospective buyers once you have reached your target audience.

2) Pursue Other Art Related Fields – Sometimes, you can seek internships at galleries, work at places that show art or volunteer for a docent program at your local art museum.  This can help put you in the public eye and connect you with people involved with the arts in your community.

3) Write About What You Love – Writing about art can help you approach art in a completely different way. It can help you better understand why other artists create the work that they do. It can help you understand the different movements, trends etc. that are shaping the art world. It can provide an additional source of income.

4) Apply Your Creativity To A Career Unrelated To Art – You might find that you have talent in other areas besides art. Pursuing a career in business, advertising, marketing analysis etc. may provide you with the steady income that will help you produce the art you have always wanted to without worrying about whether or not you can pay the bills. In addition you may find that you can approach other careers with the same creativity that you apply to your art, offering an original perspective that other people cannot.

5) Diversify Your Income – You can increase your income by investigating the many different ways that you can expose your particular brand of art to the public. For instance, you may pursue licensing, or putting you images on cups, post cards, greeting cards etc. Curating shows may offer an extra source of income. If you are great at photography, you might consider charging a fee for photographing the work of others. The possibilities are endless.

Don’t give up your dream; dream more creatively.

Once you consider the many options and avenues that you can pursue, any perceived career limitations fall by the wayside.

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.