Looking to make it big in the arts world?
Then it’s a case of getting your act together, getting a grip on what you’re doing and why, and deciding where you intend to end up with your talent.
Too many times, I have seen artists – like a ship without a rudder – aimlessly make things here, half develop ideas there, dabble a bit and fiddle around there, until they are sit atop a pile of miscellaneous art without accomplishing anything.
You need to get a coherent grip on your direction, your talent and control the flow of your skills. Stop wandering around in a daze in the artistic wilderness, wake up and get on with making your talent flourish.
One of the underlying problems is artists’ boredom thresholds are high, so they wander off on different paths and wind up going nowhere. None of these make any sense as long-term strategies.
They’re only any good if they are being done on an experimental basis with the focus of an end result. Experimenting with different styles, techniques, mediums and subject matters is what creating great art is all about.
But sooner, rather than later, people will begin asking what the point of it all is.
Experimentation must give way to a more focused and directed approach. Take the ideas that really work or really intrigue you, and explore them in deeper and more meaningful ways, rather than the path of randomness.
So ask yourselves these questions:
When you say you’re making art, what does that mean?
How do you decide what to make, when to start and where you’re going with it?
Composition: How do you decide what goes where, what it’s going to look like and how do you know when it’s done?
How do you decide what to make next and next?
I ask artists these questions all the time, and I get many blank stares. You think their hands temporarily leave their bodies, go to the studio, make art and come back and re-attach themselves.
“Nobody cares about these questions,” artists say. “All they care about is my art.”
But infact your audience do care about you and your art. And you’re the one who should care the most as the better you understand your creative process, the more direction you can apply to your art. You’ll become increasingly purposeful and decreasingly random in your work.
Regardless of whether you’re aware of it or can quantify it, every time you make a work of art, you follow a course of action from conception to creation to completion.
So given the choice, you might as well think a little about what you’re doing while you’re doing it rather than just doing it. It helps; believe me.
Once you become more purposeful, you can explain it better to others. As they understand your art, the deeper their connections become, and so the greater your chances of broadening your appeal and audience.
Nobody buys anything they don’t understand, and if you don’t understand the underpinnings of your art, how do you expect anybody else to?
An artist told me once of an experiment that she did; by giving two different explanations for a piece of her art.
When she said it was in response to certain life challenges, her audience wanted to know more. However, for her technical explanation, no-one really cared: they nodded and moved on.
Imagine the reaction if she’d said the art wasn’t about anything or had no idea what it was about. The better you understand you’re art and the reasons behind it, the better accepted it will be to the mainstream public. People love story telling, you need to have a story to tell so people can resonate with you and your art.
Have you ever heard of a successful artist with a long and distinguished career where nobody understands their art? No.
Successful artists are driven by their own decisions to create and their ability to understand that process and explain it to the wider world.
Next week Part 2, we will continue the journey. So please stay tune.