The other day, on August 1st, I realised that I have exactly 2 years to become a professional artist. 731 days until I need to be making a full time living through my business. This realisation scared the crap out of me and gave me a major kick up the arse at the same time.
I was at my little sisters 1st birthday party. There were family members there who I hadn’t seen in ages. I knew the question was coming and I knew I’d have to answer it plenty of times before the day ended…
“So, what’re you up to?”- meaning what am I up to in life, where am I working, how do I spend my days etc.
“I’m actually at uni” I say, nodding and smiling.
“Oh brilliant, what are you studying?”
The replies I get to this statement are usually either, “what’s that?”, or “what are you going to do with that?”. Neither of these questions are asked nastily, they just genuinely want to know.
And it’s not really the questions that bother me. It’s my answers that leave me feeling stupid.
If they ask “what’s illustration?”, I say “drawing stuff”. I dumb it down. Not because I think the person is dumb, but because I want out of the conversation.
And if they ask me “what are you going to do?”… my answer is literally ridiculous. I say something like “erm, I dunno… paint pretty pictures… well, more than that… there’s a whole plan… I’ve got a plan… I’ll be doing lots of things… don’t you worry, I’ve got it all planned out”… :|
And they nod and smile. I bet they wish they’d never asked. Ha!
My answers to these questions make me look silly and irresponsible and maybe even lazy. When the truth is, I work really hard every single day to improve my skills and build up my business. I do myself such a disservice when I answer their questions like that…
All of these questions and answers lead me to thinking about my future. How it’s all going to work out, how I’m going to achieve my goals and how long I have to pull it all off.
I have 2 years exactly. In 2 years I’ll have finished uni and I’ll need to either support myself and my little girl with my business or get a full time job.
I have absolutely no doubt that it’s possible to build a career and a wonderful life as professional artist. I also know it will be really hard. But I’m going to do it.
I’m going to work hard and succeed. And I want you to do it with me.
That’s the reason for this post.
I want to connect with people in a similar situation. People who want to build a career or business around their art. I want us to work together and encourage each other along the way.
I’m going to be sharing my journey on the blog. I’ll be transparent and honest. Share my successes, failures and everything I’m learning along the way. As encouragement for us both…
I’ve identified some key areas I think we’ll need to work on. Things that I believe will be essential to our success:
Artistic growth– constantly improving our skills and learning about our craft.
Expand knowledge base– learn about art, learn around art and learn things that seem unrelated but will inform our art. Things that will support our artistic growth, inspire us and give us new ideas.
Work / Life balance– starting and running a businesses, learning, improving. It’s going to be hard work. But I believe it’s sooo important not to let it take over your life. Balance is key. Balance is hard!
Systems, strategies, goals and accountability.
Self discovery– I believe that learning about yourself, how you work, your natural strengths, what squashes your creativity, what enhances it, is the key to… everything. To happiness, to success, to productivity, to achievement, to sanity!
A body of work to be proud of AND people who love it– Fans, followers, customers, collectors, your tribe, potential employers. People who see our work, love it and want to be part of it. And that requires us being brave and putting our work out for the world to see.
A supportive community of encouraging, likeminded people with similar goals who you can turn to for advice or encouragement.
These are the things I’ll be focusing on over the next 2 years. These are the things I’ll talking about on the blog. I’ve probably missed something important, but that’s the point. We’re learning!
I want to start a private Facebook group for us so we can help, encourage and inspire each other. Leave me a comment below if you’re up for it! Tell me who you are and what you dream of doing and we’ll make it happen together…
And if your answer is “erm… I want to paint pretty pictures and draw stuff… “, then that’s ok.
I feel ya!
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