Saturday, 30 May 2009

the Business of Art

Being an artist has two sides. There is the creative side, in your studio making the work - with all its wonders, tortures, delights and challenges .

The other side is the Art World. Finding a gallery (or not), trying to sell your work, dealing with people who seem to have the power, trying to feel successful and dealing with your own ego. Trying not to get disheartened. Trying to achieve a balance of believing in your work but not becoming an egomaniac. Making peace with the distinct possibility of never making a living wage. And so on.

That is the world I have been in this week. I have been quite anxious, getting a portfolio together for a networking event. I have also been anxious putting together paintings for a group show. Both are good things. The networking went really well. There was an encouraging amount of interest in my work. 

I am quite happy, but I am also grumpy. I feel frazzled and drained. I want to be in my studio working again. But I need to confirm my new contacts, send out more photos of paintings - research galleries that have been recommended to me, and phone those galleries. And then send out more photos. 
I am really happy and very grateful, but I miss my studio. And I miss my art journal. I want to go back into my creating and forget about the business side of art.


Shonna said...

I have been feeling the same way. Very discouraged and wanting to give up and just create art for myself. But something keeps me going...hang in there!!

nollyposh said...

Damn the business side... You need a 'setchateery' (secretary) X;-)

FuNNy thing about dOOrs... for mE this week... i had a conversation with a neighbor about depression and how her therapist described it as a messy room... That one cannot face because it is so fuLL and so we keep the door shuT... The way to address depression is to open the door and do one thing at a time (ie) wash the dishes, next time make the bed, etc until eventually you manage to open the door of your mind and walk right in ~happily~

So maybe it's just all about taking one day at a time and one thing at a time... As an artist it is a shame that you have to deal with this side of things i thinK! xox

Zom said...

I think the option of just creating art for ourselves can be a very good one. We are conditioned that we must do stuff to make money; it is wonderful to realize that we can do things for the mere pleasure of the doing.

I spent 15 years in the studio, not bothering much with the business side. I became unhappy with the limits of that. The business side is good for me in that it builds my confidence that I can do it - and also gives me the opportunity to receive feedback.

I just needed to have a bit of a whinge. Thanks guys. I will be in the studio this week.

bLu eYd YoGi said...

i'm sooo with you on that sister! i think, as artists~ our brains are the OPPOSITE of business...or marketing...or whatever~ i know mine is anyway! i can paint 24/7 no problem~ but ask me how much i charge? or where i should sell...or...or...or....
my brain does not work that way. i paint. ...if someone happens to stumble on me & offer buckets of money for my art~ great! if not~ you know where i'll be~ in my studio, painting, with a big, fat, smile on my face!
p.s. you should SNEAK back into your studio when nobody's looking :)

Rhomany said...

Yeah I hear ya.

I've found I have to have something I do every week because I feel like it. I always feel like creating but sometimes I want to do something that isn't necessarily for 'sale'. I find doing challenges, keeping my notebooks and doing classes helps with that. Sometimes one of those pieces will end up as a saleable item but that's not why I created it. I wasn't in business mode when I was creating, so I might as well have been on holiday.
I agree with blu eyd yogi - I don't think were' built for al that kind of thing. And I think that's why agents exist.

Chris said...

Very pretty.
This is an age-old dilemma, which doesn't make it any easier. I'm always awed by people who can keep selling their work and still find joy in doing it. It might be constitutional. I don't think I have the constitution. i think I would constantly be at war between what I want to make and making something the same as what was just sold. I think writers have this war with themselves a lot, too. And actors. They have to play the same rolls. And it's hard not to be in complete charge, and to know that someone else holds the purse strings. I guess there's always a decision process at every turn. I think sometimes it will be easier for you than others.

Love the colors!

PJ's talking... said...

Selling my art validates it for me. If I had to have closets full of it, give one to every poor soul I know, not be able to afford the supplies, or go get a (((real)))) job... then try to find the time to do art.... I'd be crying sooo loud you could hear me all the way to Australia. I've decided if the business part gets too stressful, I'll park my car on the side of the road and sell art... a traveling art gallery... :)

nanakin1 said...

Excellent blog post. Your journal is amazing -- the colors, the doors themselves; the very concept started my mind thinking of dozens of projects dealing with doors, perceptions and misperceptions.
Nancy (nanakin1)

Anonymous said...

Very frustrating, I agree with Zom. In fact I have simply decided to keep the two separate so that I can actually enjoy creating and sharing. I also feel that I would like to share and exchange more than sell to make a living. Some might say that's copping out, or that it means the work is not 'good' enough to sell. As my boys wold say - Whatever! As long as it works for me, hey!


Taluula said...

Just create for yourself. These are just so beautiful and I love them.

Zom said...

Wow Gypsy, I can't even get my head around the idea that not selling is copping out. Where the hell would that come from? The old idea that only that which makes money has worth. I am glad you don't buy into it.

Thanks for all the different viewpoints you guys. I think we all have to feel out what direction is right for us. And it can change over time.

luthien said...

it's truly frustrating this art business thingy. and it's especially difficult for ppl like us (well... like me) who dun have a business sense (or refuse to have one). i dun think i can make a living out of the arty stuff i do. i am an accounting grad ... but after grad, that's it. goodbye business studies. i chose to become a vocal coach, a choreographer, a performer. all arty !! and now ... arts and crafts! sometimes i dunno if i chose right, but i know i would have died if i'd work for say... price waterhouse. i feel so many extreme emotions (mayb it's becos i'm a pisces also... so we're a little dramatic verging on tragic!) on one hand, it's the elation when i get to create something beautiful(even in my other line as a stage choreographer, i create an arty performance and i'm sooo happy about it) on the other hand, not very many ppl look at art like we do. and you get all kinds of comments and clients wanna change your concept to tie in with their business visions, and they complain about your dancers etc etc...

how do you combine art and business?? i really dunno... i wish i could eat and drink canvas and paint... but i can't. so back to square one. *sigh*

sorry for all the complains... but anytime the topic is about making a living in art ... works a frenzy in me... sorry zom...