As we say goodbye to 2010, I have to be honest and say that this year ended with a fizzle.
Sales were down, conventions were slow, and I hit the biggest burnout of my professional career thus far around mid-year. I lost my urge to draw and escaped to the loving arms of leather crafting (which proved surprisingly lucrative and therapeutic). I started to think I’d never be able to keep up with competition. I had so much to learn and a to-do list that never seemed to shrink. The Muse seemed to have flown the coop permanently.
And that is when I realized something. I’m the boss here, not the Muse! I show up for work every day and the Muse generally mosies in after coffee and emails. The hardest part for me lately is showing up for work, sitting down at the art desk, and at least attempting to get those ideas down on paper, regardless of any intended success or failure. This, I realize, is the state of being an artist for a living. Uninspired or not, it is time to work! You must preserve a state of blind optimism that the inspiration will come and that you are a professional, whether the so-called Muse flies in that that day or not. Your art, whatever market you target, will equal returns of some sort and a feeling of satisfaction that makes the job worthwhile.
(I imagine the real problem would be if the inspiration or satisfaction in my work never comes. Then it might be time to consider other career paths.)
And so I have decided to take this year back to formula. I started this business of art with the firm belief that I had something I wanted to share with the world, that what I wanted to share was worth noting. What I have here is fantastic! Fabulous! Phenomenal! Awe-inspiring, and, yes, maybe even worth paying for!
In this new year, I endeavor to do the following:
- Keep whittling down the art to-do list, even if it never shrinks.
- Explore digital media without fear of ‘sucking big time’!
- Don’t shy away from ambitious projects just because they won’t make money NOW.
- Start charging what I’m worth for the time put into my masks! Apparently I charge too little…
- Return to nature! It always gets me inspired, even if it’s just sitting on our dock meditating for awhile.
- Go to the museum more. We have a membership and I barely use it.
- Read more. My visual and mental vocabulary need expanding!
- Join my local art society and stop being such an introvert! (Or worrying that my work won’t fit in)
What do you plan to do in this new year? Who’s the boss in your studio, you or the Muse?
How many of you thought of Spider-Man when you saw the post title?