I've always known that I've wanted to be an artist since I was young. I never really knew what kind of artist I wanted to be either–frankly, I still don't, but I've at least figured out how I can make a living off of some sort of art.
For starters, there are websites like this that pay you for views, but by itself, it's not enough to make a living. I'm still doing it though because 1) I enjoy writing a lot, and have always been trying to get my stuff out there, and 2) "a penny saved is a penny earned," as Ben Franklin once said. Writing also doesn't take much more than time from what I have.
Fine arts like painting, sculpture, and printmaking, for example, are a whole different ballgame. Depending on how much one practices their art(s), it can be a major investment in not only time, but also money, materials, and space. I've come across this issue a lot in the past two years as a young artist that's just wrapping up my freshman year of college; but I jump right through, or over, or around the metaphorical hurdle regardless. More often than not though, I'm jumping through the hurdle, meaning I'm getting some metaphorical cuts and bruises by doing so. Especially considering the financial burden that going to college presents, it's hard to keep up with my passion for creating new art to present new, artistic concepts.
All of this, and just a desire to build an audience for my artwork, has factored into my decision to sell my art. As much as I'd love to keep all my paintings and hang them on my walls at home, or to mat my prints and hang them all up in the same frame together, I know that in my prospective line of work in both studio art, and art therapy, I'm going to need to be able to let at least some of my work go.
With that idea in mind, I also want to reach a large audience with my art. I've started my own Etsy shop now, and it's coming together in the couple days that I've had it up and running. I haven't yet accomplished that goal of having a large audience, but things like that take time, patience, and networking. I'm losing a couple of dollars on the site right now, I'll be honest with you, but like I said, it's only been a couple of days, and I'm no expert just yet at running a business–I'm still learning. What I do want to say about my experience thus far as an emerging artist is that it's better to lose a few dollars getting your name and work out there, even if it's just as 'the artist that tried.'
If you want to check out my Etsy shop, the link is below, and in my bio.
Why did I name my shop as I did? I just felt as though each individual piece of art has some sort of meaning (or lack thereof) to any particular individual. With that in mind, I don't want to force feed my ideas, and my point of view to any audience, I'd rather listen to what concept they think my work embodies to them.
The Concept of Ideas
Ideas are overrated to an extent. It does help to have an idea sometimes, but art doesn't always require that of us. In a lot of ways, that's the beauty of any kind of art; despite what many may think, art doesn't have any prerequisites unless we post it on the subject. In reference to a "bear of very little brain" by the name of Winnie the Pooh, "nothing often leads to the very best something."
More often than not, I start my paintings, stories, poems, and prints without the slightest clue what I want to do. What I do have when I sit myself down to create something is some sort of emotion that's in need of some sort of release. Art is cathartic to me, but regardless of how effective its cathartic nature is to the individual, we're all feeling something at any given point. This, to me, is where ideas may fail us, and emotion should come first because from emotion comes the most raw and beautiful pieces. For example, most of my work comes from a darker place in my mind, and some of my experiences, but given my personality to smile through as much as possible, I have the tendency to use brighter colors to lighten the mood. This is my raw, emotional truth. Many artists work in the same way.
This isn't to completely disregard the usefulness of having ideas though. It does help to have an organized way of how we're going to express how we feel–logical ideas are a great tool to use for that. Every piece of art, whether made with words, paint, ink, or otherwise, has some level of organization, and cohesiveness to it, otherwise the audience may not be able to follow the thought process behind your artwork, or it may just seem like one "abstract" blob. Take color schemes as an example; these are imperative to a cohesive and successful piece, otherwise it may just seem like a unicorn threw up on your paper or canvas. But then again, not all artwork requires thought; there are those pieces that kind of just happen, like I said before.
Art does not rely solely on the presence of an idea, or the presence of emotion. The two more often than not go hand in hand, but neither is required.
This disease almost seems incurable and chronic sometimes; there is not one set cure for it, but there's only one way to discover what your cure is–do something. Whether it's just writing the same word over and over until something pops into your head, or going on some adventure you've never been on before, there are countless other things to do besides your art, so experience some of that, and maybe some inspiration will find you.
If that doesn't work, then take a break for a day, or a few days, or a couple weeks. I do this a lot myself, and take breaks when creating stuff starts giving me headaches, or when I have these episodes of writer's block, or artist's block. It's a huge help because there's always some sort of emotion that comes with being detached from art for a little while.
About the author
Psychology and English Writing double major at Kean U
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
Leaving my old writing up to go back sometimes and see how God's changed me to be better.
PODCAST: Gold Scars (available on Spotify & Anchor)