She Believed She Could So She Did: How Belief Effects Our Artistic Potential

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Marisa D. Aceves. Pigment Landscape: Crevice. digital photography http://www.acevesart.com/

Not too long ago, I caught my mother browsing  the virtual pages of one of her favorite online sites that funds and features innovative art/design related small businesses, The Grommet.

Eventually, she came upon a lady that used her creativity to come up with several unique furniture pieces.

When the lady was asked how she took her present collection from idea stage to a marketable product, she confidently stated, “I believed I could, so I did.”

Whether we are involved with fine art, arts and crafts, performing arts, literary arts or design, we all have to sum up the courage to take our product to market.

No one told this particular lady it was going to be easy.

They probably neglected to point out the many obstacles she would encounter, the costs she would incur, or the motley tribe of naysayers that would try to convince her that she didn’t have the intelligence or the talent to make her idea a reality.

Nevertheless, she soldiered on, either oblivious or resistant to the many challenges that lay ahead until she pitched her product to the right venue.

What is the difference between the lady and her creative counterparts still struggling with the idea of promoting their work?

Unlike her peers, she believed with all her heart that her product had value and was valuable to others.

When you truly believe that you are producing something of value, you make more of an effort to find an audience that will appreciate what you create.

No matter what you like to tell yourself, belief really does play a big role in your productivity and whether or not you reach your true potential.

Despite spending the necessary time it takes to develop your skills, art is largely a subjective experience.

Some will love what you do, others will have a different preference.

Here are some of many reasons why people avoid their creative destiny and how to overcome them:

1)  Operating emotionally instead of rationally – As an artist, you rely to a certain extent on what other people say and do.  However, you should not let your negative emotions about perceived failures, mistakes and disagreements determine your future success.  Sometimes, you have to consider a more rational approach to your business and art making. If you’re not making mistakes along the way, you’re not growing. There must always be room for growth and improvement. Otherwise, you’re dead and your art business is dead.  You’re not your mistakes or career disappointments, they have no power over you unless you let them.

2) Operating your business exactly the way others do – While observing what works for others and applying it to your business is not a bad thing, trying to operate it exactly the way someone else does may not be what is best for you. If you feel that your business and business approach is not your own, the resentment you feel may cause you to want to distance yourself from what you used to love. Never lose what makes you unique, it will set your art business apart from others, but refrain from feeling obligated to lose you individuality in the process.

3) Giving into the opinions of others – No matter where you are in your career, it’s easy to get discouraged when colleagues try to tear you down and belittle your accomplishments. You can be their puppet, letting them guide you to places of greater isolation, lower self-esteem, and overwhelming negativity or you can politely wish them well and use their refusal to be professional and positive to fuel your desire to see your ideas, dreams and visions to fruition. Take back your power and work to make it happen.

In the course of pursuing your artistic passion, you may find your business takes a different direction then you initially thought it would, but at least you can continue with the realization that you didn’t give up.

When you take the time to think about it, that is a victory worth celebrating!

As you explore the artistic potential that this period in time provides, I hope that you not only grow in your understanding of your individual discipline, but also in the confidence it takes to share and communicate with others.

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Why You Don’t Have To Be Ernest Hemingway To Write About Your Art

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Marisa D. Aceves. Pigment Cascade 1. digital photography

article by Marisa D. Aceves

We all love creating our artwork.

When we get a new idea that we just can’t wait to flesh out, we race to our studios with sparkling eyes and child-like enthusiasm, but while we’re content to lose ourselves in the creative process, we may or may not always feel the same when assigned the task of writing about our art.

Why is writing about what we love to do so intimidating?

Could it be that many of us share a common tendency to compare the quality of our thoughts and words to those of   popular art magazines or perhaps the works of award winning authors we were forced to read in school (ex. Hemingway and Malamud)that leave us tossing our laptops and tablets in disgust at out perceived  lack of literary genius?

Of course we could always make the excuse that we were too busy in our studios to write about our work…

…and maybe that might be partially true…but…

…no matter how much we procrastinate, ultimately we will have to provide some explanation for why we create, even if the real reason is as uncomplicated as “I felt like it!”.

If you are one of a number of artists who subtly fears the writing process, don’t fret over words.

Make them work for you.

Here are some suggestions for cutting through the confusion and getting to the meat of your artistic message.

1) Give A Little History –  Inquiring people are anxious to know how, when and why you became an artist.

Some artists’ route to creativity is traditional while others “fall into” their art practice by first participating in some other activity.

Include this distinction in the course of writing about your work.

If you are an artist which 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.

Artists who have undertaken a more traditional, well-traveled route to their artistic development may want to share what subjects, events etc. that inspired them or that continue to inspire their creations.

2) Write About Your Work Often – Practice removes the “intimidation factor” from your writing.

Sure, it’s a little scary, but then again, if you are 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.

3) Write in Small Increments – Sitting yourself down to write for an hour or two can lead to procrastination as you sit there tapping pencil to paper waiting for the words to flow.

 If you know that you freeze when forced with a long, drawn out job, you may want to spread the work out and do things in between writing.

This eases you anxiety and helps you to collect you thoughts.

4) Observe the Writing of Others – 

I think the best way to learn how to write about art is to familiarize yourself with the way fellow professional artists write about their work and the work of others.

When observing articles artist write about other artists, consider these questions:

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

 b) Do they include where the artist lives and works, their specialty (photography, painting, sculpture, installation etc.?

 c) Do they mention the artists level of education, awards and experience?

 d) Do they mention what is unique about the artists’ work?

Once you learn to break down art articles into bits of information, the easier and less intimidating it will be to write about your own.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you study the artist statements of others:

1) What is their work about?

2) What is their particular discipline (photography, painting, sculpture, installation etc.)?

3) Why do they create their work?

4) What are they trying to say with their work?

As you read their statements make sure to answer the questions mentioned above.

When you are finished you will have a rough map of the type of information that you will need to include in your own statement.

You can learn to write about your own art, or defer to others who may or may not truly understand your vision.

Be pro-active; don’t let the meaning of your art get lost in translation.

I am hopeful that over time, you will continue to grow and improve your communication with your audience.

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.

How To Get Past Your Insecurities To Produce The Artwork You Love

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Marisa D. Aceves. Rockin’ With Grandma: 60’s Aqua Pattern Punchbowl. digital photography http://acevesart.com/

article by Marisa D. Aceves

Whatever our physical or perceived challenges, we often struggle to get past the world’s expectation of us and our abilities.

Despite our past disappointments, we have all sought refuge in our need to make art out of lifes’ experiences.

What do we do though when the latest idea that we have entertained is immediately shot down by friends, family and colleagues?

Do we give up the projects that excite us the most or do we decide to continue and ignore the opposition?

While people can’t get into our heads to fully understand the scope of our artistic vision, here are some ways to help silence the insecurities that many of us face when we encounter resistance:

1) Suspend Judgement 

Go ahead, create your latest artwork series.  Don’t worry about what others will say or have said in the past. When you worry about what others think, you begin creating the type of art you believe others want to see not necessarily the art you want to create. The resentment builds.  Your art production begins to feel like a chore instead of a privilege.

2) Avoid Over-editing

In the beginning of your process, go ahead and let your ideas and thoughts flow. Work freely and without apologies.  You can sensor yourself later. This will help you to both know and trust the way you work.  Over-editing often leads to indecision.  When indecision occurs, walk away.  Take a brief break. Your work will still be there waiting for you.

3) Leave Peoples’ Opinions With Them

Don’t let other peoples’ opinions about an idea or project you want to pursue keep you from following through. Not everyone will like your work.  While this fact can bore a hole in the most sensitive egos, people have a right to their opinion. This also means you have a right to yours. It’s your work. Your art should express your views and unique insight.  If a person gives constructive criticism, it is solely up to you wether to take it or leave it.

4) Resistance May Be A Sign of  Groundbreaking Work 

In some cases, people may resist because the type of work you are creating is unfamiliar or ahead of it’s time.  Keep pushing yourself.  New work is often initially rejected.  However, over time, it is accepted as the norm. Be patient with yourself and others.

While many of us seek unconditional love and encouragement from our peers, we have to learn to be our own cheerleaders. Don’t wait for someone else to approve. If you do, you may be waiting for a long time.