Being an artist is about more than just painting and creating all day. It’s also about running a business to make money and grow…and that takes a huge chunk of time! (Much more time than simply creating the art!). As I’ve moved forward building my art business I’ve had to really sit and take stock of who I am and who I want to become and ask myself tough questions in order to gain clarity in my goals. The first important question I wanted to be clear on is “Why do I create?” What is so important about being a painter? What makes me keep going? 1. It’s a Calling.
In my particular belief system, creating art is a Calling. A Higher voice is telling me I have been given the passion, the drive, the interest, and enough talent to add beauty to the world in my own way. I feel compelled to create art and that compulsion was not put there by mistake. There is a purpose behind it. I may not know what that reason is exactly (probably not my job to know!), but I know I must answer the Call and do my best to use my gifts. I’m simply miserable when I am not creating. 2. To Serve.
Similar to reason number one, I believe my art is of service to others in some way. I may not always know HOW it has served someone, but I like to have faith that it has. Perhaps my art brings happiness to someone’s stressed world. Perhaps my art reminds someone of a happy memory or time. Perhaps my art simply looks good in someone’s room and makes them feel proud of their space. Perhaps my art is on a greeting card filled with cherished handwritten sentiments to a loved one? These are just some of the ways that my art might matter. It’s not really my job to know; but it IS my job to create. 3. Make Money.
I love to paint, but I’ve gotta buy supplies and I can’t keep every painting I make! I’ve gotta get my work out there, share it with the world, and I’ve gotta earn a living. Being an artist, for me, is a business and I want to be successful at it. I don’t believe in the “starving artist mindset.” Nobody should. I’ve spent the past 27 years honing my artistic skills and I’m not about to just give that all away to the lowest bidder! I could live in poverty or I could live in abundance and I choose abundance. That’s what business is all about, right? 4. For Enjoyment.
Number three was about business, but I also like to paint because it’s fun! I want to enjoy the way I spend my time. I’m not going to sit around painting things that don’t interest me. I’m going to spend time making things that bring me pleasure and pride with hopes that it brings someone else those same things. That energy in a handmade piece of art cannot be replicated in mass-reproduction. You can really tell when an artist created something from their heart in contrast with when they made something just because they thought it might sell or be popular. I strive to find that sweet spot of creating work I love that also sells. To do that I have to have faith that “my people” will find me and I will find “my people.” My hope is that my work will speak to someone else the same way it does to me. 5. For PEACE.
Art-making is very meditative. You are able to focus deeply on what you are making and it quiets the chatter in your mind. You have a few hours of peace and harmony before you come back to the “real world” and I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. It's more cathartic than a massage! If you are stressed about anything, I highly recommend drawing, painting, or even just coloring a picture in a coloring book. You will silence the running commentary in your brain and end up with something pretty to look at. Win-Win!
I’m sure all artists have these and other reasons they create. It’s good to stop and remember what we are doing and what it's all for, especially when we are overwhelmed with the business side of things. (what’s my next Tweet? What shall I Instagram today? How many orders to I have? What supplies to I need? Why is my printer not working? When I can get to the Post Office? Why won’t this upload to my website? Crap! I forgot to do my newsletter!) Sometimes I just need to stop, pull back the scope and remember my simple purpose and just regroup. Why do you create? What is your favorite reason/biggest reason you create? Feel free to share with me in the comments below! I love to hear the thoughts of other artists and creatives. No ONE artist is successful without other artists in their corner!