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Small Designs Magazine

Small Designs Magazine

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How to...Hold onto the joy of your art when it becomes your business


A great "How to" tutorial from Jamie D'Errico (NeoFauv shop)

Integrating the divergent skills needed to turn your art into a business is the ultimate exercise in left brain/right brain collaboration. The left brain being the center for logical, practical thinking and words; the right brain dealing in things like feelings, intuition, and aesthetics.  Both are necessary and both have their place...But the left brain can get a little too controlling and (if left to run rampant) is a killer of joyful art.

Let me explain. I believe we create art because it feels good to do so.  That is exactly why we are interested in make our living with our art!  We want to be in that creative space which produces joy, rather than being wrapped up in a left brain-focused job market, which can result in feeling tired and out of place.  Art is a creative process, mysterious and beautiful – a right brain activity. 

When we start down the path of turning that compulsion to make art into a business, we call upon the services of our left brain.  Money doesn't just fall into our laps if we are good artists (unfortunately). We need to identify our markets, where and how to sell, keep track of expenses and revenue, advertize our products – left brain activity. “Keep your audience in mind,” is a message that you will encounter countless times along the path to turning your art into income.  It is a good, practical message to be sure, and I think we all need to hear it.  I certainly did.

That said, I believe there is an equally important message that can sometimes get lost.  While you are engaged in the creation of your art, remember how to FORGET about your audience.  I challenge you to put left brain thoughts away and just enjoy being an artist while you are making art. You will never create this piece of art again, so savor it. Your left brain can jump in and dissect it's money making potential soon enough!  Your artistic inspiration does not need a back seat driver.

I know from experience that those calculating thoughts will continue to pop up during your creative process.  There is no easy way to stop that from happening.  For me, the best I could do was put those thoughts away every single time they appeared, refocusing on my process and my artistic experience in the moment.  Eventually those thoughts backed off and my creative space was my own again. Ironically, enforcing this internal space for right brain creativity actually increased my mental discipline and energy in left brain, business minded activities.  Maybe the same will be true for you.

Let's be an artists.  Let's be business people.  Let's be both!  But I know that we want to be mindful as we do so.  Being in a business mind set while in the middle of artistic creation is at best a distraction and at worst a mistake that will steal your joy and ruin your art.  What is the point of successfully making a living with your art if you end up losing the joy that drew you to art in the first place?  I asked myself this question and I'm sure you can guess my answer.  Am a I millionaire now?  Well, no, but I have managed to hold onto something precious and priceless.  That to me, is success.

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