It doesn’t seem to matter what you are talking about; there are always going to be people who are quick to give you their holy grail list of “do’s” and “don’ts”. People always assume that you want their unsolicited advice…and they will freely give it, until you actually need it. Where are they when you actually WANT their advice? So, at this point you found this blog by actually looking for information about art. Some sort of art tips or tricks that you searched for must have turned up my blog, and here you are! I am telling you that other people give advice and then they don’t…I will actually tell you all the info that you want to know about this topic, I just think that you need to know about those lying in wait. As quickly as they disappear when you actually need them, they can reappear to point out when you’ve failed.
So art…you’ve either just started creating, or you’ve just started thinking about showing your art, or you want to make your own “arting” or creative business. That is GREAT! Welcome to the club. When you enter this club they don’t automatically consider you an artist, they don’t let you in on certain secrets, and they don’t really celebrate your successes. Amazing, right? So your first lesson or DON’T is DON’T EXPECT TO IMMEDIATELY BE WELCOMED BY OTHERS. The real truth is that you shouldn’t want to be either. DON’T BE AFRAID TO STEP OUT ON YOUR OWN and explore uncharted territory. By the way, that brings me to my first “Do”.
DO DARE TO BE DIFFERENT. There is NOTHING wrong with your style, your technique, your ‘youness’. You may not have an art education, you may have just started in the business, you may specialize in the finest stick figures or even the most abstractyist of abstract paintings…but you are doing what you are passionate about it. That is by far the hardest thing to develop and the hardest thing understand when it is being rejected. Many people struggle with finding their voice or style…your style is YOU. So make sure you are finding out who that is, even if it isn’t perfect by the Elite Standards.
DON’T OVERTHINK! Part of the problem that a lot of people encounter is that they really sit and think about all of their mistakes, all possible mistakes, all possible successes…..ALL of ANYTHING. Many people dwell so much on things that really don’t matter that they end up doing nothing, or near nothing. What a shame and a waste of such unbridled talents. Not saying that you shouldn’t plan or be mindful of your art…Not even saying that you shouldn’t think about things in general. I am saying that you shouldn’t plan and worry and tense up about something to where you are so disgusted that you can’t even begin, and if you do being that you totally don’t even let yourself enjoy it.
DO TAKE RISKS! Make sure that you are making art that takes you a bit out of your own comfort zone. When I first started painting I was really young. I stuck to painting trees, flowers, landscapes, and other non-risky things. I paint mostly nudes and abstract nudes now. I never would have ventured into this realm when I was younger. I thought that was stuff that OTHER artists painted. I thought that I wasn’t allowed for some reason. Or even that people would think I was a pervert or something because I wanted to paint naked people and naked women. Then I worried that I didn’t even have the talent to do it. So, one day when I was about 30 years in to my painting experience I decided just to paint one….seriously just try it. I was worried, I was a bit sheepish about what the outcome would be, and I was happy to be doing something I could view as meaningful. I like landscapes as much as the next guy, but that wasn’t what I was put here to make. So I made one naked chick…then another. I just kept going. I was inspired and no longer cared about the opinions of others. That first one though, is the one that let me feel like I could actually call myself an Artist. I had painted for years, but I wasn’t an artist until I let the art lead me to what I needed to do. Now I just keep pushing those boundaries and I am taking pictures of nude people most weekends. I even opened up an artistic portraits studio that allows nudes and boudoir photos to be done as well. It is a new undertaking, but keeps me on my toes and inspired to create more.
DON’T BE A PASSION SUCKER. Yes, we get it…you want to be the BEST. Everyone does. Nobody wants to hear how bad their art is, I suspect it is because on some level they already know. You may not like it. You may not understand it. You may not even approve of it…but you can scroll past or walk past or run if you have to. What you don’t have to do is personally attack someone and their craft, no matter how bad. I come from the school of thought that there is something for everyone. There is no reason to compete in the manner that a lot of “artists” do. If it is supposed to be YOUR business, it will be. If you treat people well, it will show in your work. Remember, your art has a bit of your soul in it…so be sure it is the best parts of it.
DO DEVELOP YOUR OWN STANDARDS. Overall we want to make sure that we are making work that we know has a certain quality and flow to it, but as far as enjoyment standards and style standards only your opinion on this will matter in the end. I have said this before, DON’T MAKE ART IF YOU ONLY WANT MONEY. You won’t make it, you will get mad and burn out. Make the art that appeals to you and that brings you joy. I truly believe that if you are doing that, your passion will show through all of your work and it will be more likely to take your art to the heights that you are wanting. So develop your own standards here and stand by the art that you are creating.
DON’T FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO HAVE A FORMAL ART EDUCATION BUT DO LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN! Yes, I know this sounds odd and silly. How can we do both right? Well to learn something new or to know more about the subject you have to practice, read about it, observe other people’s art, talk about it with others, research styles and approaches. There isn’t JUST one way to do this and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it. So sure, if there is a class that you want to take and you feel like it will help you…then take it. If you find a book that suits your needs better…read it. There are a lot of free resources like YouTube videos, Pinterest Threads, BLOGS….things like that, that won’t cost money. You can always invest yourself in your art, but it doesn’t always have to be monetary.
So, as you can see…I haven’t identified any mystifying secrets here. I didn’t tell you how the magicians do it. It is really just such a simply thing. People who make up rules for personal expression are full of shit. You are a person, with a story to tell. You have to get to where you feel good enough about who you are and the skin that you’re in to tell it. Lot’s of people look to outsiders in order to try to gain a sense of self, but that is incredibly backwards thinking. Part of what makes art a wonderful thing is that it reflects a part of the artist…not that it reflects what the artist thinks that people want to see. Sure, people buy overly commercialized artwork…but how sad is that for them. Let them have their soulless art, and you keep making art that matters. That’s really the only “DO” that you need.
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