Things Artists Don't Often Talk About
As much time as I have spent on social media, one thing I don't come across often is people discussing those moments of confusion within your artistic journey. Am I the only one having those? For the past few days, I have also been wondering whether I should write this.
Recently I have decided to launch a subscription-based service because it seemed like a great idea to offer people what they have been asking for and actually get paid for it. The idea sounded fine in theory, but God knows how much I am repulsed by the thought of making a lesson plan. Part of the problem is me trying to organize all of the knowledge I accumulated in the past 20+ years, and it is simply impossible. Also, I do not want to settle for a sub-par course offering that will provide you with 3 bullet points of practical knowledge. And then I begin to wonder if I even need to offer this service, since it will bring so much hassle to organize.
Is this maybe just a problem of a business owner? You have ideas, you think you thought them through, but you ended up being wrong? And what do you do then? Keep going back and forth? Am I just steering away from my strategy?
When I started making art professionally, I thought I needed to organize my art into streams not to confuse people as to what I actually do. I had my illustration work separated from abstract art, then I got rid of illustration altogether because it was not getting as much traction on social media... But wait, I love illustrating! It is what I want to do! Do I just keep doing it and hope that someone likes it? Wait! I don't make art for others, I do it for myself, then why suddenly I care if anyone will like it?
I had placed myself into my own box of what I define as my style. Your style has to be consistent, recognizable. But what if that's not what I want to do creatively? The whole point of making art is to free myself, and I am unable to do so by placing boundaries around my creative process. I have been wanting to try out new ideas lately, but I am afraid it will not make any sense to my followers. I also do not want to be making the same kind of art forever. I want to experiment, learn, explore. What do I even do?
At this point, I have changed my mind on few projects. I feel like I can be perceived as the kind of artist that doesn't know what she wants. But what if what I want changes all the time? My experiences, personality, and inspirations vary from day to day, how can I possibly make the same kind of art for ages if I don't even have the same thoughts as I did an hour ago? That defeats the purpose of being an artist.
I apologize for making promises and not living up to them sometimes, but I am not even always sure what I want to be as an artist. I welcome opportunities with open arms, and sometimes they will not be the best ones, which won't be obvious at first. Like being offered to teach a class for many beginner artists and reading the contract and realizing you will be paid in "exposure" and minimal fees that do not even cover the hours needed to prepare for the lessons. And having to back out. And then tell everyone: "Sorry, no more classes!" but leaving the "because I won't be paid enough" part out because you are told not to be too negative on social media.
I don't want to pretend that being an artist means walking through a spring meadow in search of inspiration, while the sun is beaming on my skin as my hair softly caresses my cheeks. We are constantly being told not to share our frustrations or express negativity because that’s not what people want to see. I don't want to play into the politics of people who don't discuss struggle, because I do struggle sometimes and would like some help. Got any suggestions?
And sorry for my confusing English, if it was. English is my third language.