Remember a couple weeks ago I was talking about the creative person who changes his/her style and cannot please everyone in the process? I said it is no one’s business but your own how you paint, what you paint, and what direction your unique evolutionary process takes you. OK that is a given. But some of us do it a little differently, so it’s no wonder the innocent viewer is confused. This “being a creative artist”, meaning any kind of creative person at all, is multi-faceted, and it not only goes deep, it goes very wide, and then it goes deeper again. If you were fracking for the good stuff, the core, the gem of being an artist, you’d have to go in from the side as well as going deep. Very seldom do you get a gusher, and rarely when you do, it is not just about the art. There is just so much else down there….
So – your evolution within your creativity is your journey – your adventure – and no one else will ever truly grasp your struggle with it. Some people follow a straight path, sensible and logical, one style morphing slowly into another, evolving sanely; others do not. They take the broken road. Being an artist, writer, musician (such as the ones who are in the symphony orchestra but play rock & roll for fun), of many styles, all running consecutively throughout your career is insanely different and only once in a great while at some special intersection does it feel the same as those who go in the straight line. You do move forward, but in a more exhaustive frenetic pace. I guess you could put it this way – you are evolving as an artist just fine, thank you very much, but in so many arenas that you jump from one arena to the other as they all race along neck to neck in a parallel line, often changing lanes in the same day, because you could not possibly live long enough to wait until one style runs its course before you start on another. You are too impatient for that! You need to be trying out lots of ideas at once to see which one sticks and becomes the money -maker or the emotional shaker. You are a three-ring circus, a one-man band, or in the extreme a psycho artist with your hair on fire. I actually think many fine artists of the painting variety do this, and they are on fire in a good way. If you can manage the chaos it works to your advantage since one style or avenue of creativity feeds on the other, and is enhanced by the proximity of all the other creative outlets you are pursuing. So you multi-task and you get more done than if you did not. That is the fun part.
Oh but wait…painting the canvas is only one component of the puzzle. There is still much to be done after you have dripped blood onto a canvas and bled out, giving it all you’ve got. The rest is all done behind the scenes in the third world sweat shop studio where YOU are the one working 24/7 with no days off. After the styles and the choices and the evolution and the actual work all fall into place, then the real work begins. Unless you have hit it so big that you can pay $$$ to have the drudgery contracted out to about a half-dozen other worker-bees, you must do it yourself in your “off hours” from painting.
For instance, if you are an artist who is also a talented writer, those gifts combined feed the way you execute and explain your art, both verbally and in print. You will need to write a distinctive Bio, an Artist’s Statement, a resume, as well as keeping a detailed inventory of your work. If you are also a photographer, you can learn to correctly photograph your own art, saving hundreds of dollars and a boatload of time. If you are a computer wiz you can edit your photos and arrange them with text in your portfolio, after sizing them, cropping them, making color corrections and adjusting them for accurate brightness and contrast. If your work requires framing, well then frame it yourself or allow an enormous amount of money to have a professional do it – and allow plenty of time for that to happen. Weeks and weeks sometimes. If you understand the basics of sales and distribution, then you have a head start toward marketing your own art, or supervising the sales rep you pay $$$ to research galleries and sort through possible “good fit” retail and wholesale representation in your behalf. If you have an eye for display, you can offer an educated suggestion for how your work should be shown in a gallery situation where it must flow seamlessly from image to image. And last but not least, if you are a people person and you can bring a congenial first impression and a quality conversation under pressure, remembering names and faces and leaving a lasting impression, well then you have what it takes to be a success. Tired yet?
But wait again! How can you do all that and still have time to paint in several different styles all racing along at once? Therein lies the challenge. Good luck with that. But ask yourself, “Is there anything else I would rather be doing?”
If your answer is YES, then move on, and do it well.