People often ask me what I really do in Art that would constitute working. I think that a lot of times they hear that you are an artist and have romanticized that title to the point where nobody recognizes that it really is a hard job. Yes, I have a lot of fun with my work. Yes, I have a lot of freedom in this type of work. I also have frustrations, restrictions, and even things that block my productivity. I have to pay my bills the same way that everyone else does, and I am often doing more than one job (ie. creating, marketing, and a separate day job) in order to keep things afloat. I have to do more work just to facilitate being able to be and Artist…what I AM.
I am actually not even complaining because the work that I put in is at least fulfilling. I think that the passion that compels me to create is enough to keep me going regardless of the stresses that I face on a day to day basis. That being said, I felt that this was a good time to let you in on my daily goings on so that you can get an idea of the types of things that I actually do as an artist. Lots of artists do their creative business processes differently, but I can give you some insight into the juggling act that I do every week.
Monday-Day 1: I work from 8 am until 5 pm from my home. I am not a huge fan of early mornings…but being able to caffeinate while still in my pjs is a major plus. I honestly really love my day job, though it isn’t my Arting endeavor. As I said, I can stay home…do my work…pay my bills…AND finance my art career. I know it sounds odd to say “finance my career”, but with something like art you really have to do that if you want to secure a certain amount of freedom in the future. I am an artist, I believe in my art, and I am willing to invest in myself. I hope that you all care enough about YOU to invest in yourself as well.
So, after the day job I have to kind of figure out which part of my business makes the most sense to engage in. Sometimes, I get a few minutes to post or answer questions on social media while I am having lunch…but most of the time I don’t get a lot of extra time. Once 5 pm hits I try to make it in to the studio. I actually have a separate studio space that I rent next door. I strategically rented a place so close so that I could spend the most amount of time possible in the studio without wasting that pesky time traveling. It matches my townhouse exactly but is only filled with art supplies. It really helps me to separate my arting space and my home space because I can give in sometimes to being really exhausted and just space out in a Netflix binge. However, it also helps me to be comfortable enough to create by being in a space that is so much like my house but…not. Sometimes I am able to pull myself out of the comfort of my home and get into the studio for a few hours. I get there less often than I want to, but often enough to do what needs to be done.
On this particular day I was able to get to the studio and put a dent in my current creative project. This means I decided what portion of the project I wanted to work on, I got my materials together, and I focused on the area that I intended to focus on. Sometimes that is laying out the layers of a background of a painting…other times it is drawing in the design…and sometimes it is layering the design features. It really depends on where I am on the project at the time. I try to use my time as widely as possible and make it to the next point that is logical (like if I need to allow a certain part to dry completely before I start another). Today I was layering parts of my design. Today's needed color was ONLY black….YES I USE BLACK. I don’t always, but I think that I should be allowed to use whatever I want regardless of what the art elite says is a no-no. When I am satisfied with the work that I have put in (or too tired to carry on) I make sure to clean up my area for the night and lock up. Usually I go home and binge watch Netflix before I go to bed. Yes….sometimes we even make sure to eat dinner.
Tuesday-Day 2: I made it to Tuesday! Sadly, I always say that Tuesday is Monday number 2. I think Tuesday is my least favorite…probably because there is not a whole lot that is great about it. Monday at least gives you the excitement of starting the week….Wednesday is HUMP day…like what is not to like about being half way done with the week? Thursday is Friday Eve…and of course Friday needs no explanation. Again I work from 8 am- 5 pm and have to fit some tasks in either during lunch or wait until 5 pm. Since I was at the studio Monday I needed to take a larger chunk of this week and take care of some marketing and promotional materials.
I started by assessing the usefulness of the current ads I have out and making more graphic posters, pins, and social media posts that use different color combinations and layouts and fonts. I find that mixing those up gives me an edge because people naturally respond to different types of images. Sometimes you have to really play with the branding that you are doing for your arting business just to see what people respond best to. Usually when I post I try to post on many different sites so that the information is reaching a lot of people in one way or another. I post to my Facebook for Arti St, my personal page, my Healing and Empowerment Through Art Facebook Group page, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Linkedin, and at least Pinterest. I like to have the posts circulate on Tuesday or Wednesday for ads, so this week was right on schedule. The fun part is that I can still binge watch my favorite shows while I am updating social media!
Wednesday- Day 3: So, I have reached the HUMP of the week. I have been fairly productive all week. Though I have the urge to create I still have a lot of other things that need to be done after 5pm. Wednesday is generally the day that I do several different things. 1. I may be posting a new piece or item that is for sale now in my store. This involves posting to all social media and sometimes making a video to circulate to promote it and my website. 2. I like making my website changes and updates on Wednesday. I think that this places it in the right flow so that it is most likely to be noticed. 3. I may work on some digital editing or some other projects that I have going on that don’t require that I use physical paint. Sometimes it is about planning contests, blog posts, and doing research for my upcoming arting endeavor. This day I did all of the above. I know it is a lot, but luckily my mind works that way and I am able to do a great deal of multitasking. I would prefer having like 4 standby “me’s” so that I could just be in the studio and worry about nothing else, but sadly I am an adult AND an artist….an ADULTIST? Hmmmm, no maybe not that…it sounds kind of like a bad thing.
I research other art styles and spend a lot of time looking at things so I can visualize what my next step will be. Most days…much like this day….I research up until the time that I can barely keep my eyes open. Then I leave myself open to dream of very strange things like the time I dreamed that someone “informed” me that LL Cool J had a glass eye, and in my dream I didn’t even believe it. I remember exclaiming “Wow! That is amazing, all these years and I didn’t even know! You can’t even tell!” Needless to say I have some really stupid dreams and I have to figure out what is real and what wasn’t when my dream was so vivid that I could have SWORN that it was true. By the way, I googled the glass eye thing and dream me was correct…I didn’t know that, BECAUSE it isn’t true. His eyes are made of well…eye stuff, and he is lovely.
Thursday- Day 4: YAY FOR Friday Eve! At this point I am super excited because I know that the weekend is SO close. I have at this point wrapped up most of what HAS to be done for the week in marketing. This doesn’t mean that I won’t or CAN’T think of something else that I want to promote or market for my business. It doesn’t mean that I won’t start a new canvas to get the background ready before finishing the other painting that is currently on my easel. I almost always try to have my newest blog post up on Thursday. I don’t like to do it any later than that. I have learned that people are excited on Thursday about the coming weekend, but they tend to stop reading on Friday and Saturdays. Thursdays are fun because I can live in a little of both worlds. I can create art and I can market. I can catch up social media, and I can probably even get to bed on time. I say that to point out that I STILL won’t get to bed at a decent hour. I will STILL stay up and research until my eyelids are way too heavy. Sleep deprivation is part of being a good artist…I think (haha).
Friday- Day 5: It is FINALLY Friday! Some weeks it seems like it takes forever to get here and others it feels like the week just flies. After working on Friday I usually head right on over to my studio to paint. Sometimes I have paint parties going on in my studio and others I have to do a class….but there are the quiet hours. Those are the hours where I can just focus on my project and on the brush strokes. I can be in my element completely. Like spending time with someone that I love dearly. Spending time with my best friend, or the best part of myself. I will say this. If I was in my 20’s again and if I didn’t have a kid (that I actually really enjoy spending time with) I would probably spend a lot more time in the studio. Considering that I understood the value in the same way when I was in my 20’s as I do now. I was an artist then as well, but I didn’t show my art and certainly didn’t think that it made sense to sell any of it. To be fair though, we didn’t have the availability of all of the technology and ALL of the different networking things when I was in my 20’s. I finally had a cell phone when I was in my 20’s….but I also had a HOME PHONE. So, whether that dates me or not this is the life I have lived. I straddled like all of the major technological advances from childhood to actual adulthood. (*Actual adulthood is the time in your life after you initially thought you had all of your shit together where you realize that you had NO shit together, and now you are attempting to have your shit together but are finally recognizing that you will NEVER ACTUALLY have any shit together…ie. Similar to finding that you need an ‘adultier adult’).
Saturday & Sunday- Day 6 &7: These days are free for alls for me. I definitely PLAN to be in my studio forever during this time. That NEVER happens. I do attempt to spend the majority of what I like to call my “free time” in there. This is the period when I don’t have some pressing marketing to do or catching up on WRITING the blog posts. I may also have time where I simply want to spend some time with family and see actual people. I find a lot of inspiration in people so I think this is an important task for me. Last Saturday I was taking pictures for my nude body project and had a naked person in the studio…this week I wasn’t able to get the person there within the time that I had available. So, I decided to write instead. There is always tomorrow.
I plan the topics for this blog way ahead so that I can make sure that I update in time. Part of business is always preparation. If anyone tells you that it just “happens” they are a dirty liar. I spend a LOT of time trying to make things appear to be flawless. Luckily, I write a lot and actually have superb office and technical skills as well as typing….so this comes a bit more naturally to me than it does to others. That is OKAY. The important thing to do is recognize that you are going to do your business like YOU. Take advice from others, but still be yourself. Do all of the research, but still have your OWN identity.
This is an overview of what I do in a weeks’ time, but I can’t even ALWAYS follow my own schedule. Sometimes things come up. Sometimes you are tired or sick. Some days you just…suck. I have had those really stupid days where I just want to be fat, binge watch, eat pizza, and play time management games on my tablet. When your body tells you to do that, then DO THAT. You may need the recharge. If you are too run down you won’t be making good art anyway. You also won’t be at your best to meet the needs of any customer. I find that people who don’t learn how to take cues like this from their bodies often experience more periods of “blocks” and negative emotions toward their work than those who DO listen to their body. I also strongly believe that this is the reason that some people make shitty art that is commercial for the sake of making a sale. Meaning this is why many artists make substandard work just trying to please the masses. Don’t be that artist, be a better artist…a youier artist. The rest will come…but don’t be afraid to have your OWN week in arting and step out of the studio once in a while….experience other people and the masterpieces in your everyday lives.
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