Tuesday, October 4, 2011

If You Want to Be An Artist

from Robin

My friend Tess shared this with me from Stapleton Kearns... he has a great blog btw. You will find a wealth of business and painting advice, lessons, Q&A, etc.

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I am not well organized, forget to write stuff down and would rather paint than do all of the the things that those creepy books written by career counselors recommend. But I guess I can come up with a few things.
  • Find Earl Nightingale and study his material. Here is a link to a post I have written on that. I am not a devotee of self improvement literature. Earl is different.
  • I often carry an index card in my left pocket with five things that I want to get done during the day. I check them off as I go.
  • I avoid making appointments. I want to paint, not meet with people so I try to keep my schedule freed up. I will obsess about the damage to my work schedule caused by an hour long appointment sometime next week. If I have an appointment during an upcoming day, I look at that day as lost. I try to get as many things done after the light fails as I can, grocery shopping, laundry, family etc.
  • I have no hobbies, I don't play or watch those sport things. I don't play video games or Farmville (whatever that is).
  • I don't have a television. If you watch two hours of TV a day and wonder why you are not making it as an artist, you are kidding yourself about the size of what it takes to do this.
  • I don't seek to earn money from other sources than my art. I don't own a rental unit nor do I buy stock, I am afraid it will divert my attention from my work, part of which is to make a living. If a dollar comes into this house it has to be from the art. I don't do jobs or employment.
  • I have a a mental list of my contacts the people who are my dealers and fellow artist travelers. I call them routinely and check in. Speaking with my friends who are professional artists who are also at their easels helps. I have about a half dozen of those, and talking to them helps me build a model for my own efforts. We are working together, separately. Their lives are very like mine. We provide emotional support for one another. You need to have a network of people who you want to be like. I have that in spades, very important to me. These are successful painters, you would know their names. We become like the people we hang out with.
  • I keep mental track of my time at the easel. Doing business things, talking on the phone, etc is all essential but it is not time spent on your art. You have to account for it separately.There is a lot of advice for artists out there on business management, most of it written by people from the business world who want to help us spaced out artists. I know a few artists who do all that stuff too. Often their work takes on the same quality though. It is real important to put your art first. ALWAYS THE ART COMES FIRST. Then worry about marketing it. Good art will sell. I don't mean to say that you don't have to do all of that phone calling a list keeping, but it is not as important as the art. I know a very successful artist who has no e-mail, no web site and no business card. He does do the phone a lot though.
  • I use Google calender it is on G-mail. It notifies me before appointments and I can look in there and see what is coming up. Many computers are sold with calender and event programs and you probably have one.
  • Once a month or sometimes more often, I call all of my dealers. I don't do it to ask if they have sold my work. I do it just to talk, I need to work with friends. If I can't be friends with a dealer usually things don't work out.
I will think about this some more and see what else I can come up with. I will do a post aimed at the serious amateur who has to have a life outside of the studio, which I don't.
-- Stapleton Kearns

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