Notes From My Office
Now that the election dust has settled a bit it's time for artists to think about our own creative economy. I have never depended on the greater economy to survive. I have depended on the people I respect and love to help me survive. They are the folk who reach in their pockets one more time to buy a little painting or a big one, according to their financial abilities and desires. They are my students who come to my class knowing they are likely to get roped into an exercise that they find weird or hard to do. My students know better than to expect instant gratification. They know they must study and practice to find success. They are willing to use their hard earned cash to learn things they don't really understand or even want to do, because they have faith in me and they love me. When I look at my student's work today and compare it with their beginning with me, I see the growth and success they have achieved through their own hard work. They stuck it out and won. This is a powerful lesson for them and for me as their mentor. We as artists must live with integrity, even when it gets us in trouble for our personal beliefs. People with integrity earn trust. Artists have a big responsibility to their collectors and to their students, to do what is right by them.
So, What does this have to do with the economic success for artists? People support those whom they can believe in. A serious artist is not about chasing the latest fad or the latest hot subject. A serious artist has a mission for their work and career. They are reliable and relate to their clients with integrity. This is the formula for success, not instant gratification or being the latest hot artist on the market.
How can we build our own creative economy? By working in partnerships in our own communities. By that, I mean by doing small kindnesses for other artists. Yes, we must remain competitive in order to succeed. I'm not going to try and sell other landscape painters paintings rather than my own, but I can help the portrait artists I know. I can help the still life and figure and abstract artists I know because they don't compete with me for sales. I can help the crafts people I know.
These are some things I do to promote the artists in my community:
I do a mentoring or gift project each year, free of charge for artists. In 2013, I will mentor 6 painters of all levels.
I display artists promotional materials in my studio.
I welcome any artist with a cup of coffee and my time to sit and talk about art or marketing in my Loft Studio.
I buy 2 paintings a year from other painters for my daughters.
I try hard to like and share other artists' work on FB
I charge the lowest price possible for my class fees.
What are some other ways we can create our own thriving communities for artists? Share them with us in the comment section here on the blog.