If you’re not selling a lot than how can you call yourself a reeeaaalll artist?! This is shit I call BULLSHIT to!!!!
I’ve heard lots of questions in regards to my abstract art and maybe you have too. Those well intentioned curious people who like or don’t like your artwork and ask you questions like, what is it, what does it mean, or do you sell a lot, and the kicker, well if you don’t support yourself from your art can you really say you’re an artist?!
Aaaannnnnddddd Bullshit! …and you know who you are! Okay, so the what is it or what does it mean aside because I know some people just don’t get abstract work and that’s okay or they’re curious if there is a deeper meaning behind it and that’s okay; but in regards to selling some people have their own ideas of what an artist should be like, look like and sell like but that doesn’t matter to me and I’m hoping it doesn’t matter to you. We, artists, are all different and that’s what makes us good artists. One person may sell out of everything they create and another may not sell anything for years, but if they are both consistently creating new work, learning new things and techniques, experimenting, engrossed in colors, composition, ideas and birthing ideas then yes you both and all of us doing this creating, ARE ARTISTS. We just don’t have the same ‘businesses’ yet.
Why does money have to be a factor in whether you’re an artist or not? Well, I say it doesn’t have to, because being an artist is simply that, being an artist, and being in the business of art is being in the business of art. They can be separate if that’s how we choose to view it.
If you choose to be an art business then yes sales will be of importance and maybe a few sales a year on the side is perfect for you because you’re prices are high, or they’re not high but it’s a side business for you and you do other things and don’t want to be in a full time art business because you want to keep your art more low key and fun or maybe you want to be a full time artist and decide to invest time-money-energy into marketing, social media, shows etc. Each one is a different choice of business strategy.
But if you just want to be an artist and create awesome shit, then you’re still an artist! You’re just not a business, and that’s totally fully 100% okay.
Or maybe you want to be a full time artist and art business owner but you just aren’t getting the sales to do so. So you’re trying to do this thing and it’s not working out yet, but just keep trying and don’t stop trying and definitely don’t let anyone tell you you’re not an artist unless you’re selling selling selling. Because that’s bullshit. You just keep honing your craft, your art, and you just keep putting yourself out there with whatever business strategy fits for you at this time. Maybe getting a business coach and social media help and signing up for art fairs or art contests. Just keep showing up and doing your best. This post isn’t about business strategy though so moving on.
But, yeah, I’m calling bullshit on all the people who say an artist isn’t a realllll artist unless they’re selling. Do you know who didn’t sell art in their life times….let me tell you a few,
Van Gogh, maybe you’ve heard of him?- 1853-1890. According to history he sold 2 paintings while he was alive and some drawings. That’s it! And today he is a world renowned artist that everyone knows with his own unique style everyone loves.
El Greco- 1541-1614- His works were largely panned by the king and the art critics. It wasn’t until the 19th century that his works started being applauded.
Claude Monet (1840-1926)- He consistently broke the mold and was consistently rejected by art salons, critics and society.
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)- a friend of Van Gogh- He didn’t find the success he desired as an artist. His work was only appreciated by few and it was also ridiculed when presented in a Post-Impressionist exhibit in London in 1910.
These are just a few examples but you get my point. Now maybe you’re thinking, but I want recognition now not when I’m dead! And I get it, I really do, but if you don’t get recognition now would you stop creating? If you said yes, well I don’t have any advice for you, but if you said helllllll’s no!!! Then I think we are similar.
We are artists and artists are about creating art, breaking molds, pushing boundaries. I beg to say it’s a mindset, a way of life, a high regard for imagination and possibility!
And there’s no dollar sign attached to any of these things. There never was and never could be. So I call bullshit on money making you an artist! So, we just keep creating and creating and creating. And if we want to sell, we implore business practices step by step as a separate piece outside of the artwork. Let’s try our bests not to get ‘the business’ confused with ‘the art’. Yes, they are connected when you are trying to sell and wanting to create pieces people will buy, but if we only think of selling then we stifle our creativity and creativity is where all our best works will be created from.
For the business of art there needs to be a balance of pure creative time and time for ‘what can i create to sell’. I for one struggle with the latter as I tend to create from experimentation and what looks interesting to me.
And remember if we don’t sell, we are still artists through and through due to our creative minds and habits. And I look forward to connecting, conversing and imagining with you. Because art is life! And I’m happy to share this life with other artists just doing their art thing, selling or not selling.
From my heart to yours,
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