It’s hard to stay positive when you are an artist, in fact it’s hard to stay positive when there is a massive recession and everyone has to make cut backs on what they do with their money. Long gone are the days of not worrying about credit card debts because you have equity in your house or the benefits system works in your favour.
There are some that still have money and they always will and they will always invest it in art but for those of us that haven’t reached the heights of that market and rely on the spare cash of our peers its tough at the moment and not just tough on individuals but tough on small businesses.
What should we do in times like these? Give up or carry on if it is money we need to carry on then we have to be more flexible in our offering, if we are not relying on money to keep painting because we have other income from jobs outside of art then if we are not selling at the moment take the time to improve and learn.
But don’t stop being creative because of money, time is the killer and chasing money eats up time, it changes our approach to our work if all we want is money then our art becomes nothing more than a production line reproducing similar products to please the market.
I set out to be a self-employed artist in the belief I could make it pay I’ve found out like many others that in order to make art pay I have to diversify my offering, I write and help other artists, some will do workshops and I may do this in the future too. But what I won’t compromise on is my actual art work. When I sit down to paint I like to follow my heart and produce something that has meaning to me at that time be it abstract or representational. Art for art’s sake.
The work you produce and present to the world should be what you believe in and you have to ask yourself ‘why do I paint?’ if you are not enjoying your art then stop. No one is making you do it apart from yourself. If you are always painting to commission and you are not enjoying doing that then ask yourself ‘what would I do instead?’ It’s about balance make the time to just do the art that makes you happy too.
So if you are going through this recession as an artist and struggling to keep motivated because there is no money coming in from your art you have to make some hard choices. But if you truly are an artist you will never give up because of money and you will always find a way of being creative. Never compromise your inner passion for what your art is trying to say to the world its important whatever level we are at that we create what we must to make us feel good inside.
You can always paint the neighbour’s dog for bread and butter but also make time to do what you believe in too. I never got into art for anything other than my love of art and other artists work I need art like the air I breathe. But like anything we do in life if what we are doing is not making us happy ask ‘what would make me happy?’
The world will turn and good times will be back but for now making money is difficult for many of us, take this time to be as creative and diverse as you can take on paid work if you have too but at the same time keep at it and build up a body of work that means something to you but don’t give up because of money give up if its making you sad but don’t give up art if it makes you feel good creating it.
See you at a supermarket checkout soon J