Text version: Artist Expectations and Their Toxic Repercussions
This is definitely a touchy topic for many and it's not talked about much; at least not openly. I guess you have to be really concerned and care about artists and their struggles or be a coward, an a** that just cares about money and not approach it, period. Can you feel it? Do you know how artists feel when they are in their studio struggling with their dreams, their creative pulse and wish they would have more sales, succeed more and often can't figure out a way to get there?
It's reality folks! We all want more sales, success, how to complete that next work of art and wonder how/when or if it will ever sell. Are sales, a bunch of cashola or "respect" in the art world a confirmation that "you have succeeded, you made it - you are the star now"? Van Gogh surely didn't think so. It's still a debate whether he sold one work or no work during his lifetime. Yes, there is no reason to be that artist that never sells anything. Let's ask your local graffiti artist, the artist working really hard at the latest art fair, the artist that is actively involved and just uploaded their most recent work to absolutearts and the artist that just left the studio in total frustration to go and hangout with friends or hit the local hangout down the street... Did you take a photo of your latest work and did something with it - like sharing it on social media, uploading it to your artist portfolio, sending it out via an email campaign? All those free opportunities of promotion can be acquired.
You need to learn to let go of the toxic feelings about not being successful, not selling enough or not making it in the art world. That is a bunch of hogwash and will only drag you further down that deep dark hole of not being creative and not being confident! By letting go you will not solve all your problems or experience immediate success, but over time you will feel the power to be the successful artist you are, you will experience the positive power over yourself and not over someone else or being ruled by the "success monkey" on your back. Flip that sucker off your back and confidently stride forward - it will all fall into place.
By not being as successful as you dream to be you may feel betrayed, wronged or everyone in the art world is out to get you. You may feel that the whole art world establishment is against you, or that they just don't understand/get your art. No it's not so - don't worry, you can get past the feeling of being unappreciated and be the successful artist you want to be! Be yourself and regain your inner strength, your creative juice -- but you need to let go of those toxic feelings first.
No more nasty tunnel vision and try not to develop toxic and destructive habits or worse - don't ever stop creating your art. It is so easy to fall into the mind trap - oh my art sucks, I won't ever be successful, I will never get into a gallery - you don't need any of that or the old traditional gallery. Keep doing your art and be creative - try to channel these toxic thoughts by letting go of them. Try out new things - try to figure out where to show next - try to figure out what you are doing wrong and move past the same old mistakes.
As they say, take the bull by its horns. Get out of your slump in the studio and learn, learn, learn. Commit to change and explore new avenues of how you can succeed as an artist. Channel your positive energy into ways of learning the ropes and discover new ways to showcase your art instead of another "hard day" in the studio. Take the time to read our blogs and listen to all the podcast at absolutearts. Focus on yourself inwardly as a way to shed those toxic feelings - the thoughts of revenge and hopelessness as an artist.
Especially, don't expect others to do the work for you. Your own inner strength and positive outlook will determine how far you are going to go with it. No doubt, you can be successful, but it takes a lot of hard work and willingness to learn and to try new things - to fall down and get up again. We do offer all the information you need. You need to develop an attitude of change and learn to be excited to turn off that same old road of familiarity. Take a turn left, try a turn to the right, and see where that road leads you. Some of them will be dead ends but most will not. Don't be afraid because there are many exciting stretches of road that will lead you to channel your positive inner energy towards your own artistic success.
Get in now, not tomorrow, not next week - pedal to the metal, today!!!
P.S. It really helps most artists to develop a little more structured approach to their artistic lifestyle. Develop your own goals and try to think like a business executive: every day I am going to spend 20 minutes on gathering new email contacts and sorting out the others I collected over the weekend. Spend 15 minutes a day on researching what exhibition opportunities there are going to be in town. Spend 15 minutes on cataloguing your artwork and sort it so it's ready to go for any potential client coming to your studio unannounced. Take a close look at how similar art is priced and if it moves and where/why it moves. Get rid of that old expectation "I need traditional gallery representation" - it's unrealistic for most artists, think about how you can be your own agent, gallery representative and how you can improve to sell more art. Channel your positive energy towards those tasks and don't return to the same olde same olde! Then, you can get back to picking up your brush and work on that new landscape. Remember, 99% of luck is YOU and not someone else doing it for you!
About Markus Kruse - BFA, MA, PhD
Markus, founder & owner of absolutearts.com started his art career at a gallery in the early 1980's in Berlin, Germany. Since then he has actively participated in the art world: worked with thousands of contemporary artists all over the world; curated exhibitions for years; directed several art galleries; organized many artshows; sold thousands of artworks; taught college for a while and has applied his in depth knowledge and expertise to further the online art world. He has always shared his expertise and helped artists further their artistic careers. Interested in getting ahead - take advantage of our private consulting sessions?