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How to go from Starving Artist to a Wiser Artist!

Updated: Dec 1, 2019

It takes much more than talent.

In only one sense, I crave to create Art. How is that possible? I think it is a realization that I cannot do anything other than Art. It is as if it is in every fiber of my being and when I try to do something else, I get pulled right back into it. It is practical to follow one's goals in life, however, people like me, are born knowing they have a special gift to share.

It can be an overwhelming idea when you really, really think about the great responsibility that comes with having a dexterity for something, so I try to teach others about it! Talent is not an easy trait to have, since it takes work to develop it whether trained professionally or self-taught. I demonstrated talent at the tender age of four (4), and I believe I am always learning. I am my own student in many ways, if the idea is that we learn from our mistakes and improve our creative abilities.

The idea of success in Art is simple: learn as many skills possible related and closely related to your abilities to develop a well-rounded portfolio and artist who can become relatable to the world. It means you never stop creating and you will have to push boundaries and put time into the career in all aspects. Personally, I have created Art, yet learned Graphic Design, learned how to brand myself by published material and being out and about visiting galleries and attending Art-related events.

An Artist has to sell his or herself and it is a high-end career and business like any other. Right now, it is extremely expensive to study Art for Undergraduate degrees at top Art schools and even more so, Graduate studies. It is important to diversify in any career within what comes naturally, yet we all need money to pay bills, so as in any career, taking a related or non-related position in the general sense, is a real-world scenario.

The one idea that is really misunderstood is the notion that an Artist has to be starving to be an Artist. That is simply a fallacy that holds true for people who are not in the career and who have little knowledge of the art world. Artists make a living from creating Art. As with any career, it may happen sooner or later or may not happen at all, yet no one has to starve. Artists have to persevere and create work that they will eventually market as they see fit when appropriate. It is a career for Freelancers, Educators or Full-time artists once the flow of clients is more stable.

As in any business, there are learning curves, moments of abundance and moments where rethinking strategies for acquiring wealth and stability are considered.

What must an Artist do to be successful? Create, teach, socialize, be technologically savvy, market, and keep pushing conventional norms to stay competitive in the Art Marketplace. There are no lucky artists; just like in any other career-oriented field. We make our own luck by working and working on our themes as if no one is looking. Our ideas flourish when focusing on our work. It sells itself.

I will expand on the topic more in blogs to come, but this article is based on my lifetime of experience being a professional artist. Art is subjective in the real-world sense, which means that anyone can sell and buy it based on a purely topical sense. I advise artists not to think too much when thinking of what to create. Why? Because it is irrelevant. People will purchase what “speaks” to them and we have no control over that or any item that is created for consumption by a consumer. Predicting what a consumer will “like” or “purchase” is pointless. Keep creating. (I laugh out loud on the inside when I write such things, yet it is so true).

--Cecilia Paz

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