A Bit of Artist Motivation

From the Cartoon Motivators blog

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the things that I want to do. I’m always in my head, sticking and moving from one thought or idea to another. The last few weeks have been an intense period of introspection for me, as I’ve been trying to figure out my goals and intentions as an artist. Honestly I think I have been pondering and planning for years, I need to do more action. How long have I been saying that? How long have YOU been saying that to yourself about something you’ve been wanting to do? I think we can agree that we aren’t getting any younger, and we’re probably already at the point to do SOMEthing, even if that means focusing on developing our skills.

So what stops us? Fear, doubt? An external source? Personally, I do suffer from a lack of confidence and fear sometimes. But I’m not exactly scared of failing, I’m scared of doing well. Sounds pretty dumb, I know, but it’s true. At the same time though, there is a certain fear of NOT living up to my potential too so you can imagine the internal struggles that may go on. However, I found a little nugget of encouragement that I thought was worth sharing. Thanks to a wonderful and informative blog called Artsy Shark, we are given a few reminders to help get over the doubt that we sometimes face as artists.

Keep these five things in mind the next time you suffer a lack of confidence in your art career:

  1. You are your own best advocate. Even if you hire people to do your promotion and marketing, you alone are the most passionate about your success. Use this drive to speak about yourself and your work proudly. If you have trouble putting your thoughts into words, work on a written summary of your business which is a sentence or two long. Practice this until you are clear that you can quickly recall it. This is called an “elevator speech” because it is short enough to be spoken during an elevator ride. Use it during conversations with people you meet – you never know who could be your next great contact!
  2. Success breeds success. Once you get a few sales or shows under your belt, things come more easily. Getting out of the starting gate can be tough and take a toll on the ego, especially when you are faced with rejection. Don’t give up on pursuing the ice-breaker which will help you get a foothold and build your confidence and your business.
  3. Attitude is everything. Think and act successfully. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t being honest; it means that you believe you are an artist with talent who is working on a career in your field. Give yourself credit for all your efforts. Be kind to yourself and cultivate friends who also believe in you.
  4. There is support for you. I speak with experts all the time who are decision-makers and have the power to advance the careers of artists. Despite seeming heartless to those who are rejected, many of these people have gone out of their way to express how they wish to support and encourage artists. Quite a few of them have been in your shoes. Even though they may not choose your work because it doesn’t fit their needs at the time, don’t take it personally.
  5. Don’t give up. I firmly believe the most important characteristic for an artist to have is Persistence.  Learn from your mistakes, raise the bar on your quality, improve your efforts. And continue to pursue opportunities. They will come.

Today this post was for me just as much as I intended it for you readers out there. Reread these tips or print them out if you have to! I plan to use them to help me turn my energy towards being more productive and encouraged.

I want to Van Gogh to this

Van Gogh Up Close, now showing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through May 6, 2012.

I’m definitely planning a trip up to Philadelphia to see the Van Gogh show in Philadelphia! Rooooad Triiiiiip!! haha…I can’t wait, I should be making the drive a little later this month.

I’m not official…

…but business cards are nice!

I designed these myself and got them printed through a website called Prints Made Easy. I highly recommend them! The quality is great, ordering was simple, and they arrived as scheduled. I was even impressed by the color! I was unsure how close it was going to match the color I saw on-screen, because it’s the kind of thing that you never really know until it’s printed. The actual results were about as close of a match as it could be, meaning that it didn’t print some crazy shade 2-3 steps off.  I also loved that I could order smaller quantities, and that one side of the cardstock didn’t have the glossy finish so it’s easy to jot down notes without smearing ink.

I can’t wait to whip some of these bad boys out at the next art event!

A Message to My Younger Self

Recently I had to pay a visit to the art school I graduated from years ago. It’s in a new building now and is merged with a community college, so everything about it was completely new to me. Even much of the faculty that I knew of had changed. I have to say that I was so glad that I stopped through! It was a great time catching up with some of the staff and a couple of my teachers. I really felt like I reconnected with a part of myself that day. Seeing all of the fresh talent posted up on the walls and displayed throughout the building was really inspiring. It certainly took me back to a time that felt transformative in my life, as a person and particularly as young aspiring artist.

Haha, and speaking of myself as a young artist check THIS out:

This is a picture of me standing in front of some of my artwork from art school. I discovered this in one of the buildings at Montgomery College. Gosh I feel like I'm looking at a completely different person from an another dimension! Geeeez, who IS that?! lol

Yes. That is me from almost 8 years ago, barely knocking on the age of 20 years old. Actually I found this picture posted up in one of the buildings at the school. It’s pretty big and hard to miss, haha. It’s me standing in front of some of the artwork I did while in school. It really got me thinking about where I was compared to where I am now. DEFINITELY a much better painter now, haha, but I think I was a lot more creative and energized back then.

It got me thinking: If I could say something to myself back then, what would I say? Is there some nugget of wisdom the Traci of now could impart to the Traci of then? After days of considering it, I can honestly say that there really isn’t anything. Besides some obvious relationship and artistic advice, nothing really profound or insightful jumped out at me. Not because I haven’t learned anything along the way, but I guess it’s because I’ve always felt fairly confident about the steps I’ve taken in life – no matter how hard the decisions were to make. So far, I’ve pretty much done everything that I’ve wanted to do and could do. I don’t think it’s a matter of me not “dreaming bigger” for myself or “playing it safe”, but I think it was more about dreaming smart and being willing to take certain risks. I tried to focus a lot of my energy on things that would benefit me internally – isn’t that what really matters at the core of life anyway?

So for the sake of answering my own question, if I were to just pick anything to say to myself back then I would probably say “Keep taking the red pill.” If not that, then I’d probably give myself tips on styling my hair…I’m MUCH better at that now, haha.

How about you?? Knowing what you know now, is there anything that you wish you could tell your younger self?