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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Being An Artist Is Hard

So I overwhelmed myself again. Not with too much to do, but with the other usual concern, money matters. I'm not complaining, and I'm not doing badly either.

But there're no roadmaps for being an artist, a financially successful one. Especially since I'm largely avoiding the traditional gallery consignment route. In the course my dad gave me I'm supposed to write a business plan today, and formulate an ideal day. What are those for artists?

I dislike the commoditization of anything let alone art, and certainly time. This idea is sort of rubbing me the wrong way. Yes, there are certain things I could put into a routine. I think I'd benefit probably. So I'll give it a go, especially when money is tight and will get tighter with the birth of Abbey Grace.

I suppose the planning and organizing is just another thing which right now has a long-term payoff with short-term expenditures of time. I hope so, because as I was contacting Sir Paul McCartney's publicist yesterday, I looked at this post again, remembering my most important ultimate personal goal of creating Vinyl Art.



Zane said...

It always seems once you add "business" to the equation, it stops being fun. For example - music business. Love the music, not so much the business.

I get physically ill discussing money and rates with people for my photography. If I had the means, I would give it all away for free. Not because I don't value it, but because it means more to me than money.

It is amazing to be paid to create, I get to do it every day, but it does feel like getting paid and "business" is counterproductive to the spirit of creativity.

d.edlen said...

Money is just a means. It's productivity in a transferable form. I don't have a problem dealing with it, or the business of art. I actually like it. Pricing my work is a challenge because I don't know how to value my past, but what you say seems off. Giving it away for free because it means more to you than money doesn't make sense to me. Taking money allows people to show they value your work, your life. It allows them to give back. They appreciate your work more not because they've plunked down their hard-earned cash, but because they've made that connection with you and said "thanks" within the framework of our economy. My baby barter deal fits in with that too.

I've honestly had 3 people pay me more than I asked because they wanted to, and many say that they expected it to be more. I don't want to raise prices because I want my art to be afforable for a wider audience, but I enjoy making people feel good about buying art, especially directly from the artist.

Zane said...

My "pricing" issues might have to do as much with self-esteem as anything else.

I understand what you say when you don't want to raise prices to be able to make art affordable to a wider audience. I know from my own personal experience of loving pieces of art - but I would never have the money to actually purchase it. Something I see in a coffee shop downtown may as well be one of the classics in a textbook. I can admire it from afar, but that is it.

what I love about your work is the potential for a personal emotional connection, and that is also why I love photographing people.

In the last year, i have learned that as much as i want this photography thing to be fun and personable, I am also offering a commodity and selling a service. Might as well be a plumber. I've been taken advantage of and stepped on, but those were lessons I had to learn. I am really just making it up as I go along - which I imagine is the artist's perogative.

d.edlen said...

That personal emotional connection is an exquisite side benefit of being an artist. I'm still caught off-guard when people share that with me. The money is concrete and generic. But emotions are peoples' truth and to connect with that is amazing.

I think the anecdotal educational getting stepped on is the Universe's way of providing lessons. It's not to discourage us from pursuing our creativity as a means of financial independence, but to help us prepare for that eventuality.

The courage to be an artist, to be raw and vulnerable, to perhaps be the most recognizable as those who sell themselves is no small thing. It tests and bolsters self-esteem, but ultimately it's our choice on how to look at what the Universe gives us, and how to make it up.

Favian? said...

Great read inspiring! What used to believe is that your not an artist till another artist validates ya or inducts like some sorta exclusive club like the free masons or the rock n roll hall of fame.

Anonymous said...

Listen to your Dad....... he is a wise one.

Michelle said...

Interesting comments about starving or thriving as an artist.
For myself I have to create regardless if I make a cent.
I do agree with making art affordable, but I do struggle with what to charge for my own work.
Best regards and keep up the amazing vinyal work!!!