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Sunday, October 31, 2010

How to Succeed in the Arts

For many artists, success seems like a far away goal, and filled with nothing more than daydreams, they find themselves wishing away the hours waiting to be "found". Some will upload their art to the occasional artists site such as Artwanted, or Redbubble  still hoping to be found, but doing nothing more. It is extremely rare to non existent chance that an artist will achieve more than modest success this way. In order to achieve long term success there are a number of steps that artists must take, and take consistently. 

Artists must work.

It amazes me how many artists paint only here and there, whining that there paintings haven't sold, no one listens to their music, or they haven't gotten a part in a play.  No matter what your artistic venue, as an artist it is absolutely an imperative that your practice your craft daily. This means not only do you need to expend significant effort doing what you love, it also means finding ways to improve your work.  For the visual artists, taking and giving (yes I said giving) workshops is a great way to improve your skills. Some of my best insights have been teaching others to paint with pastels.  If you give a workshop it is important to have mastered the skills well enough, to convey those skills to others. Workshops are also available in many states from established artists that have made their place in the world.    Actors may want to consider acting classes, often available through municipalities, or consider sending the money for professional acting workshops from sites such as Theater Junkies  that offer workshops to actors wishing to further their careers.

Put yourself out there

Much like honing skills, an artist must put themselves out there so to speak.  You will never ever achieve success by sitting on your hands.  Send your work to galleries and licensing agencies, send that manuscripts to Publishers, and actors should try out for parts, even if it is "just" a community theater group. No one likes rejection, and I believe that many people simply avoid doing this because rejection is part of being an artist. It hurts to get the letter, or not get the part in the play, but it is a matter of growth.  Getting a professional critique can be extremely helpful in improving one's skills, but be sure that it is coming from someone that can actually be helpful.  Art critiques are often failed artists themselves, and can brutalize many an artist because they are quietly seething over their own failures.  Never be satisfied to say "well that's it, I failed" or surely you will.  Keep putting yourself out there, and you WILL find your audience. It is not always skill that gets an individual success, but audacity AND tenacity.  Never be satisfied, but do be happy in your successes. Sitting on your laurels once you do start feeling the taste of success will only ensure that you go no further.  Be happy, but keep producing, and keeping moving forward.

Get Involved in a Community
Joining a community of like minded people can be a great way to get motivated and improve one's chances of success. Art clubs, acting guilds and writer's groups all offer a supportive environment where artists may learn and grow. Often such groups consist of artists at all levels in their careers.  Networking with such individuals can be a great starting place, and can help advance an artist's success by leaps and bounds.  Additionally most groups offer competitions and exhibitions that allow artists to show off their work. This is a great way to introduce yourself to new people and allow them to get acquainted with what you have to offer. 

Success is out there, but it requires commitment and work.  Don't listen to nay-sayers that cry that you cannot make it as an artist.  Putting your head to the grindstone and moving forward with your eye on the prize is the surest way to achieve your long term goals. 

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