Am working on my book "create your art career: tools for success", chapter 3. This chapter deals with how we identify as successful artists. Loaded stuff I know.
I really don't think that success = money. Or that it equals fame. It equals, both, or none, or something totally different. It equals meaning. It equals "why" it's important to create in the first place.
I find as I get older, I get more cantankerous in a way. How cliche! But I guess there is a reason for old crones wearing purple shoes and not giving a hoot what people think. I wear a purple headband, if that counts. I am that - in a way. I care so much about the individual artist. I could care less about the art world in which we function.
I really do think that success is your ability to fulfill your goals, whatever they may be. Your success does not have to be at the expense of others, or of your health, or of your state of mind. I am curious how you define and measure success. Success for our purposes is a personal, reachable, and measureable creative career path that is as individual as the human heart. What makes up that career path, you will decide.
How do you feel when you say to yourself “ I am a successful artist”? What do you think of? Do you laugh, feel confident, feel uncomfortable or weird? Does an immediate image come to mind?
There are many routes to take to be a successful artist and many definitions of what a successful artist is and does. Earning a living from your art career is one definition of success to reach for. You need to define what financial success means to you and then create a plan to get there. Do not confuse success with an art star, or the Hollywood myth of a grand and over the top famous career as a result of driving ambition devoid of reality. There are a lot of financially successful creatives out there that you have never heard of.
As well as artistically successful creatives who have day jobs, un-art related.
There is no one success formula, no one way to live your artistic career or earn a living from your creativity. Perhaps your definition includes financial success and perhaps it does not. You see, your career can be defined your way. This is key.
Success is at its root, in both life and career the continued expansion of fulfillment, happiness, plus the steady progressive reaching of goals that mean something to you.
This is attainable for every artist. If you don’t give up and stay the course. You can make your career what you want. Success is as individual as the quality of your line on the canvas or composition of shapes on the page.
Here is a visualization to try around success:
Now Imagine: See an image of yourself in a serene and beautiful place. It is quiet, and sunny, just lovely. Imagine there is a perfect breeze blowing. You feel relaxed here, this is a place you find very beautiful. Allow yourself to almost smile as you picture this place in your mind. While still picturing your beautiful place, begin to be aware of your breathing. Inhale…Exhale… And feel yourself relaxing more deeply.
Now Imagine: You are part of this beauty. Allow your mind to think about how right it is that there is so much beauty and peace in your world and that you fit into this picture you have created in your mind. You are a creative successful artist. How do you feel? What does your life look like, when you are a successful creative artist?
Now Imagine: You see your entire creative career before your eyes. Your every skill and every ability comes to mind, you see yourself making the perfect work, for the perfect audience, before your very eyes. There is so much more to you than you ever realized. You are a successful artist. How do you feel? What does your career look like?
Now Imagine: You have many different and very useful skills that make your career special. What is special about your career? What are all of your specialties that make your career successful? Your work is unique. What makes your work unique? You have physical skills, intellectual skills, and artistic skills, people skills. You are a successful artist. How do you feel? What does your career look like?
Now Imagine All of your skills are appreciated by your clients, your audience, your family, your peers. What does your career look like with appreciation and understanding? How might you describe yourself ? You are enthusiastic and hard working - what does your career look like? You are a successful artist. What is the image that comes to mind? How do you see yourself?
Now Imagine: See yourself appreciated with the right clients, the right audience, and the right environment. See all of your people skills coming together as you market, network, perform, shoot, paint, design. What does your career look like? What does your success look like? How does it feel?
Now Imagine: You are productive, enthusiastic, and creative. See this image as clearly as you can. See yourself. Where are you? What does it look like? Who are you working with? How did your clients, bosses, dealers, agents, how did they find or discover you? You are a successful artist.
Now Imagine" See yourself maintaining connections, building relationships, and using all of your skills. You are known for your expertise, you are respected for your knowledge and skills, see yourself productive and happy. You are a successful artist. What are you remembered for?
Now Imagine: See yourself using your skills performing your specialties enjoying great success and happiness in the process. Like flowers in bloom, see each one of your particular skills as gorgeous colors, flowers, gifts to yourself and the community. See yourself using your best skills in your work, on the job, with your collectors, dealers, and audience, on the set, in the gallery, in the world.
Now Imagine: Success is enhancing your understanding of your skills. Success is the nature of your authentic voice produced into a business setting. Success is anything that matters to you. What does success mean to you? Now broaden your definition of success, who you are, what else are you doing, who else is there with you?
Now Imagine: Success is being yourself, being in business, being in your creative flow. No one else is qualified to be you. Glorious you. The most important resource is you. Your understanding of your success is the foundation of your career and life story. Allow yourself to gain insight on how you define success and why it is important to you.
Now Imagine: Success is knowing yourself , knowing what you want from your career, and where you are headed. Allow yourself to see yourself as a successful artist. Do you feel gratified? Enthusiastic? Afraid? Allow yourself to stand out in the crowd - your talent and skills shining brightly. Your career is a beacon of success. On your terms. See this image as clearly as you can.
And when you are ready, you can open your eyes.
How was that for you? Let me know. Feel free to comment.