Do you know yourself?

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Marisa D. Aceves. Object 180. Digital Photography.

Check out the rest of my series at http://www.acevesart.com/

Our success depends largely on how we define it.

How we define success is based on how well we know ourselves.

If what we are trying to say with our artwork fails to resonate with others, perhaps it is because we are holding back who we truly are……..

…or who we truly are has yet to be discovered.

 In any case, we shouldn’t let society determine our self-worth.  When we do this, we fall into the people pleasing game. Therefore, we please  no one.  We are never satisfied with what we say or what we do. Our whole identity is dependent on what others think or believe.  The tragic result is that we live our whole lives according to someone else’s flawed definition of excellence.  We hate every moment of it.  Soon we find we lose the joy we once had in connecting with others through our unique creative expression.  We would rather be the genius of others we admire.  Over time, we find we have unceremoniously given away the wonderful childlike trust we had in our natural ability to problem solve creatively. One thing that I have learned over the years is that if it doesn’t feel genuinely “YOU,” it probably isn’t.  Yes, we can and should respect and nurture the talents of others (as well as our own), but we should never try to be them. At the most it will backfire on us and everyone will discover we have been lying to ourselves and others; at the very least we will live our entire lives as the person we wished we were believing that others only want the “persona” we agreed to create.

You can hide behind and sell a “persona”.

Many have done this successfully, but at what cost.  Some say it can be done as easily as you can create a “pin name” and sell a different kind of work under that name.

It is possible to  sell a different type of work under a different name and not lose yourself, but only if you know yourself.  The challenge for many artists and creative marketers is to know who we “truly” are. Once we are comfortable with ourselves, then we will eventually find the audience that appreciates what we do and the services we offer.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Now What? : 5 Tips For Dealing With Anxiety In The Fine Arts

Now What? : 5 Tips For Dealing With Anxiety In The Fine Arts

Do you have the urge to create, but you don’t know were to begin?
Are nagging fears and insecurities holding you back from creating your best work?

Many artists at some point in their lives experience what is commonly referred to as performance anxiety. This is a period when our negative thoughts and feelings try to engage us in a long drawn out battle for supremacy. If we let them win, they deprive us of a satisfying career and a lifetime of creative discovery. Sometimes we do not always know the specific reasons why we avoid approaching certain subjects or mediums, but what is at the core of all artistic performance anxiety is fear. We fear failure. We fear not meeting our own expectations. We fear how others may view our work. This generally results in avoidance tactics, procrastination, and unfinished work.

Whether you’re an enthusiastic beginner or a seasoned professional, these tips will help you to overcome your fear of creativity:

1. Read Magazines That Specifically Target Your Chosen Medium: Perhaps by studying the work of other artists, you can eventually find alternative solutions to the problems that frustrate you and keep you from finishing your work.

2. Create Additional Work in A Medium That Is Familiar: For example, if you are struggling with expressing yourself in sculpture, but you are great in photography, then produce a photo essay. The temporary move to working in a medium in which you are proficient will help to offset the anxiety you feel about the medium you are learning to work with.

3. Perform Another Task Unrelated To Art: When you feel like pulling your hair out over some compositional problem, try performing another task you have on your to-do list. Take out the garbage, wash clothes, garden, etc. This helps to give you a sense of accomplishment and temporarily takes you away from work problems that are stealing your peace.

4. Ask A Friend,Colleague, or Mentor For Help: If you have a good friend or know a colleague or mentor that has a lot of knowledge about the medium that is adding to you anxiety, maybe they can offer helpful advice and suggestions.

5. Spend Time With Family: Time away from the source of frustration can help you to approach the subject from a fresh perspective while allowing you to calm down and problem-solve.

It’s important that you enjoy creating art; a decent plan for working through your anxiety will help you to increase your motivation and productivity.

If know of any other tips that have helped you overcome anxiety, please share. I’d love to hear from you!