A few weeks ago I asked on Facebook what everyone would do if they weren’t scared, like if they could suddenly stop being afraid to show their art or ask people to help them grow their business.
I’ve asked this question before and artists have told me various actions they’d take, mostly marketing.
BUT THIS TIME, I WAS REALLY SURPRISED.
THE RESPONSES I GOT WERE THAT THEY DIDN’T REALLY FEEL AFRAID ANYMORE.
THE FOG OF FEAR HAD LIFTED.
BUT NOW THEY FELT STUCK. DIRECTIONLESS. CONFUSED.
One woman said, “Like a painting with too much grey or a drawing with too many subjects and no clear focal point.”
It struck me as incredibly insightful. To not be afraid but to think “Well, what next?” is so unfortunate. I can imagine it’s frustrating, stressful, and rather demoralizing.
You want to move forward, but you feel incapable.
While some artists still feel the fear that holds them back from starting or taking practical, effective action toward their goals, I think a lot of people don’t feel it anymore because our culture is showing us more examples of people who are succeeding in art careers.
STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS SEEMS SO MUCH MORE NORMAL NOW THAN IT DID JUST 5 YEARS AGO.
I know more people in alternative careers (their own businesses, cobbling together an income from a few odd jobs, working fulltime for someone else but from their own home, etc) than I do in traditional office jobs.
Despite me probably being in the minority in that, it says something because when I officially launched this business in 2011 (I had been running it unofficially on Etsy for a couple years before that) I knew NO ONE doing any of these unless they had a brick-and-mortar store.
The culture has changed.
And it has given our minds a little more freedom to feel confident in our choice and in arguing back when friends or family say that artists can’t make money or that it’s not a “real” job.
I FEEL SO FORTUNATE TO BE LIVING IN THIS TIME.
I’ve always felt it for myself – because I too am living an alternative career, which I love so much and know would have been near impossible just 20 years ago. But now I recognize it for my community, the thousands of artists I talk to and work for.
YOU, MY FRIENDS, ARE SO FORTUNATE TO BE LIVING IN THIS TIME.
To have a world of art buyers at your fingertips.
To have a world of knowledge about growing your particular type of business at your fingertips.
To have a world of people trying to create similar art businesses to connect with and empathize with… at your fingertips.
Can you believe we got so lucky?
I intend to address the stuck, directionless, and confused feeling in my next article. That’s something worth some time and discussion. But I thought that today we just needed to take a moment to say thank you for having the option to be an artist made so much more realistic and acceptable than before.