Anyone who went to art school knows well the Friday night ritual of feeding at gallery openings. Free wine and cheese, a staple of the bedraggled art student’s diet. It is as if we are set up to be poor before we even get out the door. Even if you didn’t go to art school the myth is alive that being an artist AND making a good living is an oxymoron of the highest order. This is not news, and there are as many people writing about it as there are coaches coaching us out of it. I find it is my time to face the issue out loud.
Last time, I wrote here about living inauthentically, about the tendency to force a lifestyle that is not really us because we should. I ended with this:
Next time Let’s talk about aligning the dollar with living authentically!
I set myself up to write this post because it really needs to be written and I don’t want to write it. I am about to go out on a limb here and admit some pretty embarrassing things.
I have been blogging as an artist for almost 2 years now, and had an online shop for about a year. I sell an average of one print a month. One small print a month. If that were my only income I would be in serious trouble. The thing is there is no reason I could not be selling far more. My work is very well received in shows and in general.
I am not selling more art because I have not done the work to sell it.
This is where it gets really embarrassing. I have all the tools I need to make myself successful and I ignore them. I have paid for Megan Auman’s Marketing for Makers – not once, but twice – and not done the work. I have a pile of books with titles like Right Brained Business Plan and I’d Rather Be in the Studio that have been read, but not applied. Not to mention the ebooks and blogs and endless online resources I have ignored and even berated. HA! On it goes…
What kind of insanity is this? Well, I would not be admitting to these things if I thought I were alone. The thing is I know I am not. I know there are plenty of us out there that have the deeply rooted and completely irrational belief that we do not deserve to earn from our art. That making money from what we love is not permitted. In my case I had role models in my mother and grandmother, both successful starving artists, but I am sure I could be doing it without them.
Well, as my cancer diagnosis has woken me up to what I love in my personal life, I am inspired to bring that vitality to my business life. I do deserve to make a living at what I love, and I can. I have spent the past few weeks clearing my spaces and realigning my goals. I have new work to present and an always full font of inspiration for more. I also have an amazing opportunity in a seat at Tara Gentile’s Art of Earning Live.
I began following Tara at about the same time I started my first website, and I have seen her do everything right. I have seen her create her way out of her own scarcity beliefs, and build a viable and honest business of teaching others the same. I have also seen her take chances on people like me, as a writer for Scoutie Girl, and be right.
What I have come to realize is that marketing materials, web stats, SEO, and advertising won’t make a difference if I do not change my mindset.
I believe Tara can help me do that. I believe I will let her!
Are you betraying your ability to earn from your art?
Tell me your story, please!