Friday, January 15, 2010

Dare we discuss?

Welcome to the first post in my new "Dare we discuss?" series. My hope is that you will choose to be part of the conversation by sharing your thoughts and ideas. As artists we often work in isolation. My goal here is for us to have a chance to chat about all sorts of art related topics. There will be thought provoking questions as well as ones that will require some true confessions! I am looking forward to this series and remember the more the merrier - don't be shy, please join in and leave a comment.

Today we dare to discuss what we wish we had known. Yes, that's right, what are some of the things you wish you had known when you started your art career? Humm...

I guess I need to go first here...

I wish I had known how much time it would take to become a 'player'. I found that I could do all of the right stuff, hand out business cards, run ads, do shows, have a website etc. and many people would still not remember who I was nor what I did - at least not initially. Business experts say that your name has to be before someone 7 times before they start to notice you. I would start analyzing my efforts, tweaking my ads or my business cards when the truth was I just needed to be patient and stay in the game. Successfully breaking into an established arts community can take a lot more time than one might imagine. I think artists need to know that they need to be determined and they need to persevere.

I wish I had known how much time the business side of my art career would take. Of course I knew I wouldn't get to do art all of the time but I confess my expectations were not in line with my current reality.

I wish I had known I would need storage. It doesn't take long for the stuff of art to pile up. I naively started out working in a spare bedroom, using the closet as storage. I had no idea... :-)

I wish I had known how friendly and welcoming other artists are. In my early days, I held back from getting involved in arts groups because the folks involved seemed to me to be the local pros. I was waiting until I was 'good enough' to join. I missed out on commaraderie and support.

Enough from me. Time to hear your thoughts on this. What is it that you wish you had known when you started your art career? See you in the comments section...and I thank you in advance for joining in!


Laure Ferlita said...

I wish I had known it takes 10,000 hours to become seriously "good" at your chosen craft. I think of the hours wasted back in the Corporate America days and shutter.

I wish I had been bolder sooner in pursuing my art.

I wish I had waaaaay more storage too!

I wish the new year would have waited another week to have gotten started - then I wouldn't already be so far behind!! ;•p

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Laure, the reminder of 10,000 hrs is a good nudge to any readers that might be procrastinating the 'doing of the work'! And good grief we probably are all guilty of wasting time in the present too!!

I so know about January getting ahead of us. I'm tempted to dig up a December 2009 calendar page so I can live in denial for a while! Maybe we can catch up this weekend? :-)

Pencil Sanity said...

AS a newbie to the art world. I am not yet able to say that "I wish I had known". However, I am excited to read all the comments on this subject as I am sure it will help me tremendously in my new journey.

Brenda said...

Hello Teresa. I wish I would have been more out going to find groups to build comradery with. (This was before computers took off:)) Even now, I procrastinated until your blog and Laure's blog pushed me forward. So thanks for that!

I wish I hadn't allowed myself to feel like an oddity, because my teachers at that time didn't think realism was worthy for fine art. (They were all into mixed media abstracts.)

I wish I would have not kept putting my art on hold. I kept thinking I'd get to it eventually!

I wish I would've read more books, attended more seminars, and experimented in more mediums.

With that being said, I am so happy with the computer age and its wealth of information, with the fabulous books I have read this past year, the seminars that I will be going to, and the wonderful art (in a variety of mediums) that I will be creating!

Thank you for this Blog Site!!

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Maria, I hope there is some info here that will be helpful! What with your new gallery adventures and your new website, I would say that you are catching on fast! Thanks so much for stopping in to chat. :-)

Hi Brenda, yup I know all about being an oddity - "So you are an artist. What medium do you work in?" "Coloured pencil...what is that?" LOL And yes realism isn't always cool.

As for your other items, well woo-hoo it isn't too late to turn things around! So yes, get to some seminars, try other mediums, read books and blogs!! You go girl. We shall eagerly cheer you on as well as celebrate the milestones. I am delighted that my blog is pushing you forward. I so could have used that for myself in my early days - a good reason to get connected with kindred spirits. Thanks for entering the discussion!

Beth said...

I wish I had known my online friends when I was starting out! The wealth of information that I get from them, including you, is invaluable! Gives me much more confidence!

Plus everything else that you guys have already said! Especially about the storage space! I would have bought a bigger house!

CountryDreaming said...

My art career started about two years ago when I was inspired out of the blue clear sky to go sell photos on Kelleys Island. An innkeeper there who'd never seen my pictures but knew my personality encouraged me to apply for a small art show, "It's easy, all you do is put your photos out on a card table and people will buy them."

First thing I wished I knew was to put a sticker on each photo with a price so people wouldn't have to ask.

Secondly, I didn't know how to react to being called an artist because up until the day of the art show I hadn't known that I was one. I still wonder at times what's the best way to act in public to fit the artist persona, because some people who come up to your table make it clear that they expect you to act like an artist, whatever that means, and they want you to live up to some sort of mystique. One lady that I'd never met before extended an open invitation to me to visit so she could "talk to an artist."

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Beth, ah yes storage...seems to be a recurring theme here! :-) Girlfriend you should have lots of confidence - you have spent many years educating and inspiring young artists and your work in various media is wonderful!!!

Hey there Ms. CD - I got a real kick out of your story of a lady wanting to talk to an artist! I once read an article in which an artist was speaking about this sort of response we get from the public. He said it was because in our culture people see artists as the folks who ran away to join the circus. Lots of people dream of being creative but it takes a certain amount of courage and or lunacy to dare to be an artist. People truly are curious about us and our lives.

So my fellow artists, see you under the big tent!!!

Gary Keimig said...

It certainly does take a lot of time and energy marketing one self. The old addage still holds true. You approach a large gallery and they tell you your work is great but we only take well known artist. You ask"How do I become well known?" They will reply, "Get inot a good gallery" Duh!
In the beginning it behooves an artist to try and get into as many shows as possible and always push for exposure. I have a number of artist friends who have tried magazine advertizement. It is important to realize that you need a lot of money to do that right. An add once a year will not do it. One needs to be seen out there in at least 50% of the year in that magazine. And the right magazine is important. Alas I never had the money for even one add. Anyway that can be a way to loose alot of money fast if you don't have the resources and the sick to it it takes.
Interesting discussion here, Teresa. Much could be said but marketing of some sort is so important.

Pencil Sanity said...

Now that I have already posted on this thread I did learn something and wish I had known. Having been recently accepted into an art gallery, I decided to actually turn down this offer and represent myself in my art journey. Had I known or thought through some of the things that lead me to this decision I could have saved myself lots of frustration. I have posted a long note on my blog about this as well.

Ramona Davidson said...

I wish I had known that I would become frustrated and bored painting large art (16x20 and larger). Some pieces took three years to paint. I would get so frustrated I would put down the canvas for months before I would work on it again. I now paint 9x12 and smaller and enjoy it so much more. I can finish a piece in a day or a week instead of years. Painting smaller also freed me from the paralyzing fear of messing up the picture and ruining a large canvas. I would put painting something I had never tried before (which was most everything) because I was afraid of goofing up and ruining my picture and wasting the canvas. Painting smaller on paper frees me from this. If I goof I can just tear it up and start over. It is such a freedom.

I wish I had known of the art community and blogs on the internet. I would have had someone to share my art with four years earlier and also to learn from. I just started my art blog last year and found all of you then too. I have really enjoyed my art since then. Before it was so lonely and frustrating. Now everyday is an adventure. Thanks for opening this up for discussion.

teresa stieben said...

I like your concept of the dare we discuss series, what a wonderful way to connect and peek into the minds of a vast range of artists. I cannot say there was a defined starting point to being an artist as I have drawn on paper bags and in the sand and mud as a child. It seems that I could not, not create. When I view the world around me it is always with a soul filled with awe and an eye for patterns, colors, texture and shape. I would have to say though that I do wish I knew how to market my work.

Gillian said...

Great debate, Teresa.

I wish I had known to keep a sketchbook from an early age. Sketching was never taught in art classes at school and so I have no archive of memories other than photos in a box.

I'm making up for lost time now though. It's never too late!

Lynda Schumacher said...

A little late to the party Teresa, but here I am!

For me, I wish I had possessed a sense of confidence in my abilities, and the knowledge that by combining confidence with hard work I could have some success with my art. For 20 - 30 years I did not know this, and having only begun drawing again the past four years, I still struggle feeling that I CAN. Its coming though, little by little, in spite of myself. : )

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Gary, I so agree with your thoughts on advertising in magazines - it is costly, you do need to choose the right magazine and you do need regular exposure. I also agree that marketing is very important. Many artists produce wonderful work and the public doesn't even know they exist!

Hi Maria, it must have been a bit nerve racking to turn down a gallery! I sometimes wonder why all this can't be easier! :-)

Welcome to the comment section of my blog Ramona! I had never thought of how scary it would be to work on a large piece that might take years to finish. Yikes. :-) I am glad that you are finding every day to be an adventure. About a year ago I consciously made the decision to be an adventure seeker - no sky diving or anything, simply more of going beyond the status quo into new territory. I am enjoying things so far... :-)

Hi Teresa, I am so glad that you like the idea of this dare we discuss series. I hope you join in on the chat again! And yes, that pesky business of marketing... :-)

Yes Gillian, sketching is a wonderful habit to develop. I think it is often overlooked in art classes. So many people work up their ideas on the computer now that I wonder how many artists actually even do thumb nail sketches before being a work?

Hi Lynda, don't worry - you aren't too late (I confess that I often go days without checking on blogs). I haven't been doing this art thing my whole life either. But hey, I think coming to all of this later in life just makes us more determined. If I can do this, anyone can! And dear Lynda, while I don't know how you define success, I do know that your art is absolutely wonderful!

Thanks everyone for daring to discuss!