All you need is the “creative vibe,” as many people say.
Oh yes, how easy it is to be an artist these days.
However, with any expanding industry, competition aggregates at the same time. Can everybody be an artist? Perhaps. But there will always be good artists and incompetent artists.
Now, if you are happy with what you are doing with the paint brush, or the scrap paper, or the pencils and ink, please stop reading this article. Because chances are you’d get offended, hot headed, and either be upset for wasting your time reading what I am about to write, or decide to jump on the boat and have a fist fight with me. *smile*
Nonetheless, if you do decide to continue reading, please generously leave your feedback in the comment area if you may. I would deeply appreciate your thoughts even if I might not agree with you.
#1 Don’t call yourself an artist
Whilst many “artists” are satisfied with what they are doing and how much they are making, others believe art should carry a transcending value that differs it from regular home decor pieces and regular commission arts. For those who truly want to become great artists, the first step is to get over the self-consciousness by not addressing yourself as an artist.
I’m not saying never use the title on yourself. We all know how important self-branding is nowadays. If some shameless crowning could get you to the place you need to be, or impress the people you’re trying to impress, then go for it.
Just don’t believe it when you say you’re an artist.
Just look back at the masters. I wonder if they go around bragging about themselves being an artist at the beginning of their career?
Humbleness is an essential human virtue, which has been thrown away by the majority of artist population in this fast-paced society. After all, who has the time to endure the solitude and explore the dark maze of human history and intellectual thoughts, if pouring paint is enough to make a good fortune?
By calling oneself an artist, one generates a satisfaction of one’s achievement and professionalism, whereas art, as much as any other subject, requires endless refinement and development. Therefore, the easiest way is to understand that we are simply observers of the universe, instead of entitled artists. We thank the world for generating such wonderous inspirations and sharpen our skills as the world’s humble servant to portrait such inspirations.
#2 Don’t go for the money
Art is not a merchandise. Although it is an industry, it doesn’t mean that artists are at the same time business people. If what you do sells, that’s great. The problem is a lot of times they don’t.
Fact check: A lot of outstanding arts don’t sell!
When we talk about profiting from art, we need to be aware that there is a market. There is a mainstream market where people are willing to pay, and there is a less dominant market where monetization happens less.
To sell your art, you need to reach the right kind of audience. The more diverted a piece of art is from mainstream beliefs and aesthetics, the harder it will be to make sales.
But what’s the fun if we all painted happy trees and pet portraits? What’s the fun if all we do is throw something at the canvas, conjure up some fancy words, and price at $30 per small canvas of abstract painting?
When studying writing, a professor of mine clarified that we should never write in order to be published. Quite the opposite, we should write from our heart, then see if anything see we write fit into any journal’s call for submission.
In other words, we shall practice art in a refined manner, whilst thinking the least about our audience. What an audience perceives from our work is solely up to the viewers themselves. When the artist tries to fit into the audience taste in order to capture the market, he becomes less of an artist.
#3 Don’t, EVER, try to explain your art — other than through art
The only exception in this case is artist statement and artist’s bio requested by submissions. In those cases, you need fine writing skills to stand out from the hundreds of images a gallery or a grant organization receives everyday, and being able to articulate the essence of your art is indeed necessary and crucial.
However, the new ideas highlighting critical thinking and reflection on artwork has long changed how an artist communicates to his or her audience.
In my memories, the critique session was meant for others to offer critical feedback with minimal defense from the artist unless it was an one-on-one critique. Nowadays, the group critique turns into a speech event where an artist passionately explains everything about her work verbally, and thus nearly turns down any possibility for others to criticize any element of the piece of the work.
Isn’t that sad?
To be a good artist and make progress, you gotta have some skin. If you paint or draw in order to receive admiration of your deep thoughts and social conscience, it might be better if you become an activist, a speaker, or a writer, but stay away from the artist’s world.