Be Smart About Art

Still in love with what you do?

written by: Susan Mumford Feb. 15, 2015 1) RECOMMENDED-> Susan's weekly blog post 4838 views

Still in love with what you do?

from our Sunday reading series - a weekly blog post (subscribe here)

Here you are, a long way down a road following the career of your own choosing. You always knew it wasn’t the easy path, but were determined to make it work.

Why then can it become so difficult to be motivated? Whatever happened to the joy and mystery?

Several years ago, I wrote a blog post about the misconception that being in the art world offers a champagne lifestyle. That was inspired by the many – and I mean many, times when, as a gallerist, people would say, “oh you must have a fabulous lifestyle!” I would internally recoil and think how it was anything but. Sure, presenting a tranquil experience to visitors is vital to the public perception of a gallery, yet behind the scenes the wheels turn at full speed.

At this time of the annual holiday of love, I urge taking the opportunity to ask yourself: “Am I still in love with my business?”

If the answer isn’t an immediate “Yes!”, then it’s important to work out what’s happened in order to repair what needs mending before it’s too late.

Just as often happens in personal relationships, people start to take what they’re doing for granted. Even if juggling a variety of jobs or commitments, it’s all too easy to stop appreciating the time that you have to dedicate to your chosen profession. If you suspect you’ve lost sight of this, step back and take a view as to why you pursued the profession in the first place.

The truth is, to pursue a career of choice takes bravery, determination and a lot of hard work. While many people will say things such as, “you’re so lucky” to be an artist / curator / etc, the person with the ‘enviable’ life knows all too well that it’s easier said than done.

Thus, it’s essential to celebrate successes and record them along the way. In the bleak moments, you can remind yourself of how far you’ve come by looking at all of the small and big hurdles. You might even create a ‘happy folder’ in the email inbox, so as to re-read positive messages from clients, associates and friends in those down moments.

And you know the importance of keeping things fresh, right? All relationships need this, including the one with your business. After all, what’s the point in going into a creative enterprise if you end up with a production line routine? Whether it’s experimenting with a new creative technique or going on studio visits, getting out of the daily rigmarole will help to keep you interested and engaged.

What you mustn’t do is forget why you went into the profession in the first place, take it for granted, forget to celebrate successes and stop trying new things.  By doing these, you won’t only be in a position to stay in love with your business, but to fall in love with, it over and over.

Keen to share your own thoughts on this post? Share your own insight below - and provide a link to your own website / blog if you fancy.     

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Photographs © Chris King.

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Great advice! Last December i signed up to a plein air marathon.
All the participating artists had one week to create
as many pieces as possible on a given theme An exciting
and demanding challenge that was very inspiring!