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.
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.