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.

This Blog’s For YOU!!!

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Sensations Bath Landscape Series Check it out at http://acevesart.com/

I’ve thought about making several changes to this blog, but I’d like as many suggestions as possible as to what you’d like to see.

What exactly do you need from this blog?

While I’ve covered many different topics, I know that there are some that have not been addressed.

Many people have searched for the answers to certain questions, but they have not found a blog that covers the information that they are looking for!

Remember that this blog is for you!

Hey guys, I need all the help I can get; any suggestions for improving this blog are welcome!

Can’t wait to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Magic Formula For Success: Does It Exist?

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Marisa D. Aceves. Spectrum 3. Digital Photography

Everyone searches for that elusive ‘formula for success’.

At some point in our lives we all entertain the big ‘If ‘.

Many of us want to believe:

If we just read a certain book about marketing, we will understand the secret to selling our unique brand of art.

If we just take this SEO seminar on how to optimize our website, everyone looking to buy our work will suddenly find us on the internet.

If we just purchase this social media package for $99.99, we will become a ‘social media rockstar/artstar’.

If we just work hard to attract the attention of this one particular gallery, we will finally get that life-changeing/career-making show that we’ve always dreamed of.

If only…if…if …if

We cannot live our lives counting on the next ‘If ‘  to change what we don’t like about ourselves, or our art career.

Yes, hard work, discipline, proper planning and solid marketing will increase our chances of success, but they do not guarantee that it will occur.

Sadly, those of us looking for guarantees and magic formulas will find that there are none.

What we might ask ourselves if we happen to encounter anxiety about the relative uncertainty of our chosen profession is “Why am I creating art in the first place?” and “What do I consider success?”

 

 

 

 

8 Steps To Increasing Productivity In Your Art Business

An abstract photo of designer soap 5

 

Many many weeks ago…

In the land of salsa and tumble weeds….

I felt I had made an artistic breakthrough.

I was going to combine both texture and glazing techniques to give my pure acrylic paintings a more mixed-media look and feel, but then something unexpected happened,…

It started to rain.

This of course slowed the drying time of the acrylic paint. Ever the optimist (yeh, right), I decided to be patient.

Surely, this little bought of wet weather would change the moment we all chose to blink as it always does in South Texas…but…nooooooooo…

It rained again and again.

At this stage, the paint remained tacky. It had an elmer’s glue consistency that when pressed slightly, released the wet paint from the bottom layers to the semi-dry surface.

Darn, I thought, this is going to take a week to dry….and it did.

Despite this annoying setback, I plodded on trying to make the best of the crazy weather conditions that were beyond my control. Still, I longed to finish the painting that I’d started and stepping aside to let the sucker dry was more than my limited patience could bear.

If you have ever found yourself in a similar situation and you are wondering what the heck you are going to do with all  that time on your hands that you would have spent painting, drawing, sculpting etc. then consider these helpful common sense suggestions:

1. Become A List Maker

Yes, I know… plopping down on your bottom and writing a list of all the things that you would like to accomplish with your career for the week is a boring and tedious exercise, but it also helps to relieve the anxiety you feel when you are just “floating” through the day with no structure or plans for getting things done. When you know were you are going, you can take the necessary small steps to accomplish larger goals by meeting smaller ones.

2. Organize Your Studio Space

While you are waiting for the paint to dry, the plate to be printed, materials to cure etc., try cleaning up areas in your studio that you will need to use to complete your latest body of work. Even though the thought of meeting hidden dust bunnies and mutant roaches that take up their home in that dark, damp, abandoned corner of your workspace is both scary and at the very least unappealing, the benefits of a clean, uncluttered working environment far outweigh the temporary inconvenience of a much needed “spring cleaning” session.

3. Make a Sketchbook/Artist Book For Each Series / Body of Work

Literally set aside a small economy sketchbook for each series of work that you want to produce. Be sure to sketch out all your ideas for individual paintings, sculpture, ceramics etc. that you want to include in that particular series. Add any comments or information about what inspired you to produce the work. If you are a photographer, you can create a photo journal to help you plan your next photo essay.

4. Research Materials and Content For Your Current Series / Body of Work

Sometimes, it helps to do research on certain topics that you want to discuss with your work. If you are a multimedia artist, and you plan on using materials that you might not ordinarily use that are connected to the subject matter of your series / body of work, you may also wish to do research on
how to properly use these materials. This practice will help you and others to better understand your artistic process. You may also want to add this information to your sketchbook/artist book to refer to at a later time.

5. Look for Galleries and Alternative Spaces to Show Your Completed Work

If have already figured out the style and subject matter of your work, you can begin actively searching for galleries and alternative spaces that are marketing artists creating similar work in the same genre. For example, if you are an artist that produces academic realist paintings of street scenes, you may want to research galleries that sell and promote academic realist paintings. The more specific you are in describing the type of work that you do in a gallery search, the easier it will be to target the gallery that is right for you and your work.

6. Market Your Completed Inventory

Make a list of all of the inventory that you have completed that you would consider selling or exhibiting. Clean and prepare the work for display. Make sure that you have good quality pictures for all of your work. Research juried shows, competitions and online exhibitions to gain exposure for you work.

7. Take Time to Visit Local Galleries and Museums

Apply for membership to your local museums. Make sure to subscribe to the mailing lists of both museums and galleries so that you can be notified of upcoming events that you can attend. This will help you to become a part of your local art community. Often we underestimate the need for contact with other artists and art business professionals.

8. Write an Artist Journal

Write an artist journal addressing the things that you believe are holding you back. As you mention each problem, try to acknowledge you feelings about that particular problem. Then, try to come up with possible solutions to that problem. If the problem is something that is beyond your control, maybe you can think of an alternative activity to pursue or a different way of viewing your situation.

Even though temporary setbacks annoy us because they keep us from working on a piece of art that we want to complete within a certain period of time, sometimes these setbacks force us to deal with other aspects of our career that need our attention. This is especially true if we have been taking the “path of least resistance” approach to our art, avoiding or ignoring these issues because we don’t believe we can be successful at marketing our own work. However, if we want to see progress, we must take risks.

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

 

 

 

Attack Of The Art Clones: Why Is It So Important To Be Your Own Artist?

Attack Of The Art Clones: Why Is It So Important To Be Your Own Artist?

You’ve probably heard this scenario a dozen times before.

An artist creates a certain style of work that really resonates with a certain group of people.  He or she independently creates a new niche market for their particular style of work.  The artist is able to license his or her work and consequently create various streams of income from their original creations.

Some artist see this. Visions of fame and fortune dance in their heads.  They too want to live that dream.  So they make the bold decision to copy this particular artist’s work because they half-heartedly believe that they can vicariously experience the same success.

Call it insecurity.

Call it desperation.

It happens more often then we’d like to think. When it does, millions of copycat, paintings, drawings etc. crop up all over the internet.  Sure, there are slight variations, but for the most part, the subject matter and compositions are exactly the same as the original artist. Yes, if you practice enough, and you are relatively good at coping someone else’s style, you may indeed sell paintings.  However, you will always be considered an inferior version of the artist that you’ve copied.  As if living with that truth is not enough, you also face the possibility of being taken to court for copyright infringement.  Even well known artists have encountered serious legal problems for using another artist’s work without their permission. Artist beware. This is not the way to go.

Although cultivating your own unique artistic style in a never-ending sea of sameness seems like a scary often difficult task, it is an important factor in setting your work apart from the millions of other artists whose works populate the internet. The truth, is that it takes time and considerable effort to figure out who you are and what you want to say with your art. Research to find out which galleries to approach and which social media to use in order to target the ideal audience for your work is also time consuming, but it is well worth your sincere efforts.

Don’t be a part of the art glut.  Don’t ride the coat tails of someone else’s genius, hoping that you will discover yours along the way. You are your own artist with your own unique voice. When you discover who you are, share your awesome talents with the world.  Compromise often leads to regret. You can only suppress you for so long before resentment sets in and the joy you used to gain from creating is gone.

Feel free to share your comments.  I’d love to hear from you!