It’s easy to get discouraged as an artist by measuring success against external factors such as sales, recognition, or a certain type of studio.
As artists, we have the power to envision and create what we want for our future. I encourage you to envision a more personal and holistic view of success that considers everything from the place you live, to the way you work, and the community you want to have. By placing our intentions front and center, success becomes more about the creative life that we build for ourselves.
What’s YOUR personal idea of success?
I’ve created a downloadable worksheet to explore some of the questions raised in the video above. Use it to help you brainstorm your vision of success. I highly encourage you to spend some daydreaming time, thinking and journaling on your ideal scenarios. You may enjoy doing this with a trusted friend and sharing you ideas with each other.
Why do you make art? How did you get started? Is this a new passion or one longstanding? What got you “hooked”? What’s important to you about making art?
Who do you want in your community? Who is the audience for your art? Do you prefer to work alone or surrounded by others?
What kind of opportunities do you want to have? What kind of impact do you want your work to have? What does making art do for you physically? Mentally? Spiritually?
Where do you want to live? Where do you want to make art? What kind of environment suits your needs?
What time of day do you work best? Do you prefer concentrated periods of work with deadlines and breaks in between or do you prefer to work the same amount each week? How many hours each day, week or month do you ideally work?
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Many artists with big ideas feel thwarted or confused as to how to get necessary funds. Have you dreamed of having a a catalog of your work? Do you wish to mount an exhibition in another city but don’t have money for travel? Is there an ambitious project on your list that requires significant monies for material or fabrication?
There are many avenues for securing funds for your art – there are grants from foundations, government or non-profit organizations, private donations, saving your own income. In recent years, crowdfunding – raising funds through small amounts of money from a large amount of people – has offered an alternative making raising money even easier and within the artist’s direct control rather than a jury or granting organization.
Hatchfund is a non-profit organization in the United States that gives hands on support for artists to fully fund their creative ideas. What’s different about Hatchfund is that all contributions are tax-deductible and their success rate is two to three times higher than other platforms due to their emphasis on support and education.
I had a nice Skype chat with Program Officer Stephany Campos, a who explains how it works.
How is HatchFund different?
• All the funds raised goes to the artist.
• A real life Project Manager works with each artist.
• More flexible than other crowd funding sites.
• A very high 78% success rate.
• Non-Profit so all donations are tax deductible.
More information can be found at
Please tell us in the comments section – what would YOU like money for as an artist?
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Don’t you just love being read to? I do! I loved it as a kid and I still love it as an adult. Just one of the many reasons I love to listen to audio books.
My little holiday gift to you – I’m reading a chapter from my book Seven Essential Practices for the Professional Artist: Create a Studio Habit – Consistency
I hope this gives you a little boost to get in the studio if you’ve been having trouble making that a regular habit.
Many artists I’ve worked with struggle to create regular time for art making. It seems as if everything else always gets in the way!
It’s easy to fall into this trap. Why should it be so hard when it’s what you love to do?
One reason is that many creatives, in all fields, have a highly developed inner critic. But it can be a problem when you let this inner critic run rampant in the early stages of creating something.
We also doubt that we have ideas that are worthwhile. I’d like to go on record as saying even if only ONE person in this world benefits from your studio practice – YOU – the entire world has benefitted. You are no more important or less important than every other being on this planet. Your happiness, satisfaction and sense of deeper connection with All-that-is that creative practice engenders spills out and touches all in your circle. When you have it in you to be creative and you fulfill that promise, it feels as if everything is right in the world. Have you notices? And in turn your family, friends and colleagues get a happier more fulfilled version of you. Then they in turn touch every one else in their circles with a greater sense of satisfaction and peace and so on.
I’ve found it highly beneficial when stuck in the studio and having trouble getting jump started to have a commitment to regular, inviolable studio time. Even fifteen minutes a day makes a huge difference!
Creativity is like a muscle. Use it regularly and it gets stronger, firmer, more toned and ready for action.
Once you cultivate this regular practice, it becomes like a loyal friend. It will not let you down it will be a comfort and solace in the good times and not-so-good times.
If you have your own ideas to share about how having a regular habit of getting into the studio has helped you, please do in the comments below!
Or perhaps consistency has never worked for you and you prefer a more sporadic studio practice – let us know about that! There is no ONE way for every artist. The mindful artist community is designed to help you find YOUR unique path to a satisfying and enjoyable life as an artist.
By the way, Iris mentioned in the comments that she hadn’t realized the book was available in print. If you are in Canada, you can purchase copy directly from the publisher, Editions FrI, and have lower shipping costs. (The may even have a few signed copies left!)
Or you can get it here on Amazon: http://goo.gl/ngnDI
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Chances are you’ve encountered it before – in movies, jokes, anecdotes – the concept of the “starving artist.”
Many of us have consciously or unconsciously borne the burden of this pervasive myth in our society.
I have heard of countless creative people who were dissuaded from following their dreams because of fear of not being able to make enough money.
But that need not be a reason to give up entirely on something you cherish.
The truth is, of the hundreds of artists I know personally or count as dear friends, the majority DO have some other form of income. Most of them are doing something in the arts: teaching, arts administration, curating, design, illustration, working in or owning galleries, art preparator, framing. They are so many ways to make a living in the arts.
But let’s set the record straight: they are not starving. They own homes, go on vacations, send their children to college and STILL manage to make art, even if it is not their full-time income.
And then there are artists who make a handsome income off of their art. That’s a possibility as well.
Just last week I was at Anthony Meier Fine Arts in San Francisco looking at an exhibition of one of my favorite artists. Everyone of the five pieces sold before the show opened. My friend casually asked what the prices had been. “Between $500,000 and $1,000,000.” was the reply.
So definitely some artists are doing more than thriving.
The reason I bring this up is to just check our habits of thought and thinking around this issue.
Have you ever caught your self thinking thoughts of lack or limitation?
I was inspired by a passage from Lynne Twist’s book The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources.
Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
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Are you aware of the thousands of grants for artists to fund their work?
Artist grants are offered all over the world to help support artists in the creation and sharing of their work.
Look for the list of resources for grants for individual artists at the end of this article.
Last month, I was in the process of applying for an artist grant. As often happens when doing administrative work, I found my initial flush of enthusiasm of the project diminished in the bureaucratic minutia of applying.
Has this every happened to you? You get all excited about an opportunity, only to lose steam part of the way through?
I created a video on the spot to share with you how I realigned myself with my purpose and vision to reinvigorate the application process.
Whether you are an emerging artist, a seasoned professional there are funding opportunities worth exploring.
Many are geared towards artists from a particular region. A great place to start is to your local arts council. Your municipality may have one or if you live in a smaller city or rural area, try your county, province or state arts council for opportunities. If you live in a smaller country, your national arts council or foundation may have excellent resources for you.
Getting started finding opportunities may be overwhelming at first. I recommend starting small.
If you are interested in learning more, make a 20 minute research appointment with yourself in your calendar for next week. This is something you can do after work some evening – even if you are too tired to go to your studio, committing a few minutes to finding opportunities to support yourself is a way you can demonstrate your commitment to yourself and gently nudge yourself along the path to playing a bit larger, stretching outside of your normal comfort zone.
It’s important not to get too bogged down. I find for myself, slow and steady wins the race. Setting aside small increments of time each day or each week works better for me than chaining myself to the computer for hours at a time.
If you find one you would like to apply for, write the deadline in your calendar and then schedule in weekly grant writing sessions for yourself so you have plenty of time to hone and edit your application.
If this is your first time, think of it as training for writing a grant. You will learn much in the process of putting together a proposal. This can then be edited and crafted for future proposals as well. Just the process of applying for a grant will encourage you to take your work seriously and think of yourself in a more professional context. It’s creating a bigger vision of yourself.
You may want to start a general search or you may narrow your search from the start. There are grants out there specifically for younger artists, mature artists, LGBT artists, artist of Latino, Native American, African-American descent, artist working in specific media, artists working with specific subject matter, etc.
What follows is a brief list of opportunities out there to get your started. Please share any additional opportunities you find with our whole community in the comments section below.
And as always leave questions or suggestions for future articles in the topics area below. Let me know how I can assist you!
The California Arts Council has a list of grants available to artists throughout the United States.
For artists in Minnesota and 5 boroughs of New York http://www.jeromefdn.org/apply/general-program
The Guggenheim Foundation offers one of the most prestigious grants in the United States for visual artists:
Pollack-Krasner Foundation: Grants to artists worldwide with demonstrable financial need and recognizable artistic merit
Creative Capital provides integrated financial and advisory support to artists pursuing adventurous projects in five disciplines: Emerging Fields, Film/Video, Literature, Performing Arts and Visual Arts.
From Fractured Atlas: A list of some grants with upcoming deadlines
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Just what exactly is “perfect” and where do we formulate our notion of “perfection”?
I believe that perfectionism is the root of many an artist’s block.
I’ll never be good enough.
If I can’t do it as well as ____________, why try?
I’m not sure my idea is worthwhile.
What if I fail?
My project could never reach the beauty and perfection of the idea in my head.
We often talk ourselves out of doing something before we even get the chance to start.
I am reminded of something painter Agnes Martin once said:
“We cannot make anything perfectly but with inner contemplation of perfection, we can suggest it.”
I made this video because I’d like to invite you to pick up the reins of a project or piece that is waiting in the wings for the perfect time, the perfect place, materials, amount of money, the perfection of your skills, or whatever notion of perfection is preventing you from diving in.
See what happens.
And let us know, OK?
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