I have spent the last 3 and half years working Full-Time as an Artist! That’s pretty cool. I have really enjoyed it and throughout that time have encountered some interesting challenges. Although I have been “making a living” doing art for the last 3.5 years, before that I spent a great deal of time creating art and have actually been developing this art career point since I decided to go to art school when I was 19 years old.
One of the greatest challenges I have faced in particular since I have been earning a living with my art is the balance between creating art that is marketable versus creating art that is truly a unique expression of myself.
Our world and money system is an interesting thing in that there is very specific rules that one must follow to ensure the success of a business. (Or at least this is what I am lead to believe) And you know, what I have found is that these rules also seem to exist in the individual as well. I have encountered this with creating art where it seems individuals are more comfortable purchasing art that is ‘safe’ I will say.
That these ‘safe’ items sell more frequently and readily where the more experimental pieces don’t seem to sell as quickly. And this also goes for apparently controversial contemporary art as well where if it doesn’t have that very recognizable essence of being or looking like contemporary art, than people are afraid to buy it who have contemporary collections.
This has been quite a dilemma for me because obviously when you spend a lot of time creating art you start noticing things about this process. I have for instance noticed that “Art” follows a lot of rule and follows the trends of today. Art today has a very specific look and feel unique to its time just as it did 100 years ago. But its strange because I also notice that this kind of limits REAL CREATIVITY which from my perspective doesn’t follow a trend or preconceived pattern which can be replicated.
But to get to the bottom of this question could be quite a story so I am not going to go into all the dimensions in this blog.
For now I am going to stick to my approach.
Basically, I start with making sure my business side of my Art Making is stable, which means that I am creating art that is creative, but also marketable. Then from there I am essentially funding my own creativity from the perspective of where and when I have enough art for sale that is more proven to sell, or money from sold art, then I can experiment a bit, and be a bit more creative with some pieces.
There is also grants and things like that you can get from the government but even with that you are catering to a specific idea of what art should look like. Essentially you are selling your art the government or at least for them to give you a grant to create art that they think is valid.
But I really question that also because our world is really in quite a state of chaos and suffering which to me does suggest that the major systems in this world and the ideas and directions they are supporting are kind of in question looking at how everything is existing right now.
So this is quite a challenge for artists today and for artists that have lived throughout time, to create truly unique individual expressions.
For me I see this as being a work in progress for myself. And sometimes I wonder if I will ever do this in my lifetime.
It takes courage to try something new, to create something that may not look like ‘art’ but that is a real expression of yourself. This especially being so with the pressures of existing in our current money system where if you don’t have money, you don’t eat.
Sometimes I wonder if people yearn for that real honest individual expression in art and would be willing to pay for that. But then, its like the pressure of money and that FEAR of not having enough money to eat or make more art enters the picture and influences what I do.
So I just do my best to find that balance, ultimately with the end goal being to create a world that allows for that Real Unique Individual Expression to come through and flourish throughout our world not just in Art but in all things and all different expressions.
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