Saturday, October 18, 2008

People do the nicest things sometimes...

I got a book in the mail yesterday. It was a present from my lovely new friend Rhys. We met at the Zine fair, part of the This Is Not Art festival, a couple of weeks ago. Rhys had been checking out my stall, we got to chatting, he said that my work reminded him of one of his favourite artist/authors, Keri Smith. He said to check out her work online and that if I liked it he would send me his copy of the book "Living Out Loud: Activities to Fuel a Creative Life".

So I checked out Keri's website and loved her work, then emailed Rhys back to say that he was totally right and I think her work is awesome... it really is! I'll give you a link to her website at the end so you can see what I am so excited about.

The book arrived in the mail on Friday. It couldn't have come at a better time.

Usually, I am the world's most positive of people. I am young, have lovely friends and am going about becoming an artist as best I know how. Sometimes, however, it's hard to maintain the level of self-belief this task requires. For every person that tells me my work is lovely, I must be doing very well, there are another ten people to look at me like I am completely mad when I tell them that I am an artist and I run a small business selling toys and educational craft activities.

My mother wants me to go back to University to finish my teaching degree, even though I would never be able to teach (long story, but allergies and treatment thereof leave me with next to no immune system). She thinks that I should move out from where I live now with my wonderful boyfriend back home with her. So not going to happen. My mother is a bit mad.

Making a living as an artist is hard work people say, and with two months left to go on my NEIS business grant, I am definitely starting to feel anxious. My (very) small business is starting to find it's feet and I know that my stuff sells, I am just terrible at marketing it.

This book, however, makes me feel like maybe I can do this. Maybe the only thing holding me back from being an artist and small business owner is my own lack of self-belief.

So here is what I am going to do. I'm going to block my ears to any negative advice for the next couple of weeks, and I am going to get out there and make this happen.

This is who I am. I am an artist. I am not an administrative assistant, student, teacher, cashier at Domayne. Of course it's not going to be easy to get over the abject terror that even the word marketing instills in me, but no one is ever going to know about me if I sit in my little house and paint all day.

Thanks Rhys and thankyou Keri Smith, you rock :)


flossy-p said...

Are you kidding?!!! You are one of the best marketing people I've come across in this wee world. I'm constantly gathering ideas and inspiration from your clever business ways. I'm constantly impressed when I hear new things : "I have a business mentor", "I have the NEIS grant" (which I've always wanted!!! by the way but never thought you could get it for being an artist, so there you go, impressed me again)... "I've set up a facebook group", etc.

You are very clever at this. And I'm even thinking of coming to one of your future marketing for artists workshops, hint hint.

And by the way... no matter how good an artist you are, there are always going to be people that don't believe that it's a serious life ambition. They'll always consider it a form of "play", but that's only because they're not creative enough to think outside the box, and are probably stuck in a very boring lifestyle. Not one of the lucky ones ;)

One thing that helps me in my quest is to remember what stage I'm at. I'm always feeling bad because I'm not as good, or not as well known, or this or that as blah blah.... But in most cases they've been doing it for longer than I have, and at the point in their career that I'm at now, we're probably on par. It all just takes time. Lots of work, ingenuity, and time. Which you, my friend, have loads of.

There's only upward from here. Stick at it. I'm with you.

Emerald Arts said...

Haha and there I was thinking that I was YOUR fan, now it's a mutual admiration society ;)

Let's see, I was whinging to a friend of mine that I hated my admin job and wanted to have some (any) time to do my art. She told me about the NEIS program, which you have to be unemployed to take part in. So I spent a lot of time on facebook and got myself fired.

I think that you can do NEIS if you are in any way receiving centrelink benefits. We had one lady who makes beaded jewellery, she can't work away from home because she looks after her husband, so she was starting a small business to supplement that.

Technically NEIS is a small business grant, but I decided that since I was doing a market stall anyway, I might as well make that my small business. Toys and craft kits supplementing actual artworks. Starting to work out, been hanging all year for the silly season.

Thankyou so much for the lovely advice. I'm definitely going to try to remember that in art terms I am a newborn. Even in business terms... well I'm only twenty nine so I think I have a while to go :P

I'm with you too Buddy.