opportunity: your obligation as an artist

This post first appeared in April 2011.

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We spend a lot of time waiting for opportunities to fall into our laps.

We wait & wait – watching others take advantage of lucky chances, wishing that was us. Art isn’t about waiting though, it’s about stretching yourself, making stuff happen.

Your obligation as an artist is to create opportunities for others.

Sound crazy? Think about it. A traditional artist creates a product that others engage visually. It creates an opportunity to change, to challenge, or to inspire. If art is about new perspectives, new perspectives are about opportunity.

If you’re a less traditional artist like me, your art may create opportunities by connecting people, by informing, or by questioning. The opportunities may be direct – artist to patron – or indirect – patron to patron.

Artist, how will you create an opportunity for someone else today?

4 thoughts on “opportunity: your obligation as an artist

  1. I was just thinking about this and how important it is! I’ve been making my living as an artist for several years now, but just opened a new shop where we are carrying about 95% handmade goods (thus the name Handmade Happiness Boutique). It is such a great feeling to look around the store and see the works of so many fabulous artists – and to know that I am helping them to do what they love and share it with the world!

  2. This is such a belief system for me, it rarely occurs to me to promote myself alone~Arts & Craft Fair in the works, plus a gallery full of others works, also working on finding a space for the Creative Crafter, as Maryellen Kim, did a space to show off all of my amazingly talented friends works~I always like to say, when we all do a little, a lot gets done. When we help each other, our lives are enriched beyond belief, we are not put on this earth to satisfy ourselves, but to appreciate others~what better way, than to share others work along with our own. Love it.

  3. While not traditional, my obligation as an artist is two-fold. Right now I am working mostly with yarn – knitting and crocheting – for charitable projects that are close to my heart. My art inspires me in the creativity, the careful selection of color and texture, and the the warmth and goodwill generated in my heart as I lovingly create these blankets for women’s shelters. My other obligation is to provide someone who has next to nothing with a treasure that was handmade with them – though not by name – in mind. I want them to know that love and thought and care went in to every stitch and that someone is thinking kindly of them and wants the very best in life for them. Even though my contributions are small I know they make a difference – to the maker and the recipient.

  4. Im with Maryellen Kim – with my own shop ‘Beacon Art Emporium’ – not only have I accomplished and made the change over from originally doing mostly consignments from local artists to artists who I now buy wholesale from – – they get paid right away, I even up their wholesale prices if they are too low – much about pricing I have learned on scoutiegirl, taragentile.com – cannot thank you all enough! – People, visitors to shop and my customers are all very happy to find locally made functional items and fine art…

    I often advertise in local papers/city websites that I am looking for artists’ works – even if my own art is also for sale in the shop – the more the merrier! For those artists (like one I have who creates amazing conga drums in ceramics) I will highlight an event where he plays and demonstrates his work – thereby showcasing not only his talent, but with his art works (conga and bongo drums) which are only available in my shop or his studio in nearby Woodstock.

    ps great post!

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