Following the heart....mmm, easy to say, but you don't have to travel down life's road for all that long before you find out it's not that easy!
I've been reading a few things on the web lately, blog posts etc, which got me to thinking about this, plus, I myself have been challenged, once again, to recommit to following my heart.
We artists all know that the past few years have been hard on us. Sales have dropped off due to the economic crisis.
We have faced many challenges; learning to think outside the square, getting internet savvy, marketing, blogging etc etc.
I too, have been told "Why don't you just paint what you know will sell, other artists do, why don't you". It can be tempting, especially when we are trying to make a living from out art.
I also read a comment a few weeks ago, I can't remember where it was, probably on a blog post.
The comment was; 'If you can't sell your work where you live why do you think you can sell it somewhere else or overseas', or words to that affect.
For a few days it really kinda knocked me back. I am a contemporary abstract painter, my art doesn't sell real well in my local area but I have lots of interest overseas.
I thought about for ages before I threw the idea out.
These are my thoughts on this and what I have observed locally in recent times;
1. There are quite a few professional artists in my area who have earnt their living from their art for many years, in the past 2 years they have had to return to full time work as they had not sold ANYTHING for 12 mths. Does that mean they make bad art? No, people just aren't buying right now.
2. At a recent art exhibition (at which I received 4th prize overall) one of the judges stated that it is the art that wins the prizes that often don't sell! This art judge, a winner of over 30, 1st place prize awards, said he had most of those works under his bed. They had never sold.
Was it bad art? Obviously not, he won 1st place with them!
3. I recently sat at an art society exhibition for a day. I observed what people were buying and saying about the art.
I walk around the show discussing various works with the visitors.
Now, on that day I sold 4 paintings; not mine but painted by several other local artists.
What did people buy? Mainly traditional landscapes. Both in oils or acrylics.
Not fantastic works, a little mediocre but it was what people liked! Priced under $300 AUD.
What I'm trying to say is, just because your art hasn't sold where you have exhibited it doesn't mean it is bad art. We can be tempted to try to fit our art in to what we think people will buy.
Of course, we want the public to love our art but sometimes they don't; that doesn't mean it is bad art.
You may need to try a few different areas; local, national or even overseas.
Do the best you can, go to workshops, increase your skills and get very good at what YOU do!
I want to encourage my fellow artists; 'Don't let people put you in a box.!'
Go for it!! Put your art out there, the world needs to see it. You have a voice and you have something to say.
God has given you the great creative gift of art to do just that!!
Follow your heart, your dream. Life goes by too fast, we don't want to look back in regret do we?
'Be true to thine own heart'
Ciao for now,
P.S. I'm working on a painting along this theme. It has a school of fish all swimming in one direction, there is one fish swimming the other way, against the flow. 'Dare to be Different'! That is it's title.
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