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


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.

Till Death Do Us Art: How To Say Goodbye to your Old Work

Till Death Do Us Art: How To Say Goodbye to your Old Work

Yes, you gave birth to that baby gathering dust in your closet back in high school. Your dying to get rid of it, but somehow it speaks to you from beneath mounds of dust bunnies and dead crickets. Suddenly you feel both love and hate for your long lost creation, yet you just can’t bare to let it go. Why?

Perhaps this work is a link to your past, reminding you of a time when you cared less about your creative outcome and more about the process of creating. You feel that you need to keep it because someday, it may inspire you to do something different, something great, something awesome and inspirational. The roaches and the doodle bugs need culture, you muse. So you cling to the art blast from your distant past that doesn’t love you back. When you finally wake up and smell the oily, yellowed college ruled paper that you sketched it on, you begin to realize what deep inside you have known all along. It probably never will. You will fail to find it’s hidden brilliance; it simply has no brilliance. It will fail at every angle from which it is viewed because at the time you produced it, you knew nothing about composition. Failing is part of success; it is a part of growth. Letting go of old art that has nothing to do with the work that you are producing now and will offer no real source of inspiration for future work is also a part of growth.

When it’s time to make that fateful decision whether to keep a work or to lose it, consider these suggestions that have helped me to clear my studio space.

1. Confidently pitch dated class projects-
Many people in the fine arts fondly refer to class projects as “student work.” Unless the outcome of a project was unusually brilliant (ex a strong, solid work that has influenced the style or subject matter of your present work or has won you an award from it’s entry into a well know publication) it is probably safe to assume you won’t be using it as a well of perpetual inspiration. Instead let it gently sail into one of those handsome black hefty bags that you keep in the kitchen cabinet.

2. Shred artwork that is damaged beyond repair-
If the materials that you used to create your work are yellowed, musty, moth-eaten and foul smelling chances are your avid collectors won’t appreciate adding these pieces to their collections either. Do yourself a favor and save your reputation. Toss them. If you don’t respect your art, who will. If you don’t respect your collectors, that can be deadly.

3. Kill ancient abandoned experiments-
You know you’ll never get back to these pieces. You chiseled, your smeared, your dabbled. They conquered you. They beat you up in that dark alley between mediocrity and brilliance. If keeping these pieces doesn’t inspire or push you to fight to express your unique, personal vision, then why revisit them. If you must preserve some memory, snap a digital picture, it takes up less space.

4. Dump unsophisticated, problematic work that you love to hate-
Work that lacks a definite, style, composition, strong color scheme, has no redeeming qualities, and has been sitting in a dark damp closet or lonely cramped corner for years, doing it’s won thing deserves an unceremonious drop kick in to the trash compactor. If you can’t find a way out, a way in, a way through, or a clever way to recycle this particular artistic mess and you are not willing to, than you know that you have a decision to make.

While their is some secret part of us that wishes that everything that we produce or have produced is gold, the harsh reality is that we make a lot of mistakes along the way. Many of these mistakes over time, are not worth keeping, some are. As we bravely continue on our own individual artistic journeys, we slowly learn which ones to keep and which ones to discard. Still, the beauty lies in knowing that there are other artists that share our experiences and they too have to make difficult decisions such as these. We are not alone in our triumphs and our failures.
*SPECIAL NOTE: If you are a student, and you find yourself reading this article, you may want to modify these suggestions as you are probably still developing the style and subject matter that you will want to market later on in the future.

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