By: Matthew Sabey Smith
Beginning Your Art Career Can Feel Like Panic Buying
Often when an artist decides they truly want to pursue art to make it into a career, they think they need to get a bunch of materials to start. In a way it is similar to panic buying. You may feel like you need to have all the basic necessities met so you don’t run out of material when you need it most. However, all around us, there are materials at our fingertips. Take an artist like Jean Michel-Basquiat for example. Many artists are familiar with his work as it was very noticeable, unique and his story is rather magnificent. Quite often Basquiat would use materials he could access on the street, sometimes he would just use chalk and write his “SAMO” signature on a brick wall and people would begin to notice. However, aside from gracing the world with his wonderful work, he was living proof you did not need much to make your art when you were starting out.
1. You Can Make Anything Work If You Have The Passion
If you are a passionate and creative individual, then you probably can make just about anything in your life work to your benefit regardless of the situation. If you have the ability to adapt, why can’t you do that for your career as well? When you have enough passion and drive to create your artwork, there is nothing that can stop you from doing that. Some artists gravitate to using trash (Remember the saying “one man’s trash, another man’s treasure?”), natural materials, or even simply their own bodies for performance art, the opportunities are truly endless, all of which require little to no money, just time, focus and dedication.
2. Be The Artist, Not The Fan Club
No matter the material and medium you choose, let the art come from you, the unique, individual, artist that you are. It is very often artists can get caught up in “what’s hot” that they change their work over and over to fit into a certain mold or audience, it mixes up the signal to the audience and you don’t keep sending a consistent message through your work as a result. Instead of looking at sources or individuals that tell you WHAT you should do, it is always going to serve you better if you create work that YOU believe YOU should be making. The bottom line is if you are driven and confident about the work you create, the medium and materials won’t matter. The messages and beliefs exuded through your work are what will create attention to your niche audience, just be patient and put your face in the right place consistently.
3. Is It Really Art?
Well that is for you to decide as the artist. The more far out an idea or controversial the subject, the more your viewers will begin to love or hate you. Staying true to your message is what sets an artist apart from others. Artists open up a viewer’s mind in ways they never thought they would. To evoke emotions or create new ways of thinking for viewers are reasons why artists are such a unique, integral and necessary part of society. If you are an artist, no matter where you are starting from, send your message and own it.
4. Say It With Conviction
The reality is this. If you are controversial about something, you are going to get a lot of love and a lot of hate. However, this is one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to smart marketing. The more alarming a message you have that catches someone’s attention, the more hook you grab them with to reel them in. If you are solid in your convictions and stay true to your core beliefs, there will be no way haters will be able to crack your shell. Whenever you create your art, stay true to yourself and your spirit. If you make art that is of your highest self and of your highest good, then you will not even feel the need to listen to anyone who disagrees with your mission. All insecurities will fall to the wayside if you are 100% behind what you are doing.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Get Paid
So many artists are afraid to ask for money when it comes to purchasing their artwork. If you think you want to make a living by creating your artwork, then go for it. I have seen way too many artists sacrifice their own wellbeing in order to save a dollar for their buyer. The trouble here is, if you cannot support yourself to make a living and buy materials, then you are going to spend more of your time elsewhere to make money to support yourself, to buy materials and thus, spend less time creating your art.
Let’s Sum It Up
If you are an artist, or have a creative calling, then don’t ignore it. It is in you for a reason. Even if you have never created a painting in your life, don’t be afraid to start, pick up a brush and attack that canvas with everything you’ve got. Art is a constant learning process for every artist, no matter what level they are at. It takes guts to show your true self through your work, but the satisfaction that comes along with showing your deepest convictions is indescribable. Remember the quote, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take?” Well in this case, you miss out on 100% of the paintings you don’t start creating. Go for it and if there is a way I can support you, contact me and I would be happy to help you.
Never Stop Creating,
Matthew Sabey Smith
Matthew Sabey Smith is an artist and educator who combines his love for the outdoors with his education as a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine to create artworks that involve themes related to holistic health, mindfulness and spiritual transformation. He enjoys utilizing his knowledge to educate artists and creatives on how to perfect their craft and pursue what they love.