So for a little recap - this is the second post of a little three part series where I'm sharing what I've learned in the six months since I've been making my art full time/starting my own business. This is advice I've gained from great teachers, friends, family and good old fashioned trial and error.
I think today the focus should be on the importance of embarrassing yourself. Or maybe the better wording for that would be "putting yourself out there". A place where you can get a good dose of embarrassment is art school. For 3 1/2 years I was told one of following regularly:
A. Your ideas are bad
B. Your art is bad
C. Your ideas and art are bad
I guess you could say I grew a tough skin when it comes to my art. But it also brought me to a pretty stupid and also weak conclusion: 'If I don't ask people what they think, I won't have to hear if they don't like my work'. When I graduated, that became the way I protected myself from criticism but it also bound me with limitations. It was like I was hiding from the art world and my work suffered. Luckily it didn't take me long to realize this wasn't a successful way to start a business.
So I ventured out again by started small. I started researching how other artist's live. Why is it that some artists succeed and others don't make it? Whose opinions mean the most? How should I be managing my time?
I went back into my old sketchbooks from high school and college and found recommendations from teachers for books to read for inspiration and advice. I bought the book to the right-> The Successful Artist's Career Guide by Margaret Peot and it has been GREAT. It has worksheets that help you figure out the kind of artist you're meant to be and gives you motivation and scheduling tips.
I read other artists' blogs. I became a sponge, soaking up as much as I could, while being seriously annoyed with myself for the time I wasted being offended when others didn't like my ideas or paintings. Then I started going to the VMFA as well as galleries. I realized the serious importance of seeing other artists' work and how it can provide both motivation for making more work as well as inspiration for new subject matter.
Then I joined an artist academy called The Artist Blueprint. Members are given assignments with flexible deadlines and it helps us stay on track when it comes to maintaining our social media sites. One of the assignments a few months ago was to create a youtube account and make some videos showing how you make your art. You can see my first venture into this in a blog from March (click here if you want to see it), and the quality is really rough. I didn't have a video camera to film my art process , so I tried to be resourceful and I turned on my ancient laptop opened up Photo Booth and clicked the video setting. I spent a bazillion hours on iMovie turning my footage into a below average time-lapse video. I really had no idea what I was doing, so I took a chance and asked the general public for their advice.
Now this is one of the hardest things I've learned so far in this business start-up process - asking for really is ESSENTIAL. That may seem like a no-brainer, but I was a real firm believer in the "fake it til you make it" attitude. I believed in this to the point that I didn't want ANYONE to know if I was clueless on something art related (my pride can get a little out of hand sometimes). But since I joined the Artist Blueprint, I've seen artists asking other artists for advice and the response they get is amazing!
So my advice to you: Don't be afraid to show your rough draft to others. You aren't the first one to start a business, let other people who have been in your shoes help you. It doesn't make you less intelligent or less original.
Since I took that advice I learned so much about time-lapse videos! I learned that even if you don't have a fancy video camera, you can get videos that are still decent quality just from your phone. A fellow artist told me about apps that you can download that will do most all of the hard work for you! I know I still have a lot left to learn, but I hope you'll enjoy my newest time lapse video below:
This video shows my process of painting after I've done the crazy finger painting dance with the canvas. I used a free app called "Lapse It" then I uploaded it to my computer, put it into iMovie, added some titles and the song "Five Years Time" by Noah and the Whale.
*The painting is not yet complete, I have a few more orchids to paint in there :) Enjoy!
Hi friends! Welcome to the blog! I'm Mandy and I'm an artist, blogger & founder of the "Artists to Know" interview series. Here you'll find photos of my latest art adventures, furniture makeover projects & advice from successful artists!
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