There are numerous cognitive biases that threaten to lead us to incorrect conclusions as we reason our way through problems: confirmation bias (where we selectively pay attention only to evidence that supports our pre-existing beliefs), non-confirmation bias (where we selectively ignore evidence that contradicts our pre-existing beliefs), and belief bias (which predisposes us to accept that which is consistent with our pre-existing beliefs), to name just three. In his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman argues persuasively, however, that if we consciously identify and attend to our biases in real-time—a feat that requires great effort, admittedly—we can lesson their affect on our reasoning (at least, to some degree).
My daughter wants to be a professional artist. She wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and earn a living doing what she loves. I love that she does, and will always encourage her to do so, but I often wonder if she realises just how much hard work it can be. With success comes sacrifice, and with abundance comes hard work.
It’s not just about promotion. In this day and age, getting seen is the easy part. Finding the right audience can be a little trickier, but still, it is easier today than it was when I first entered cyberspace almost fifteen years ago. The Internet has changed a lot in that time and social media has made connecting very simple.
But there is so much more to doing the artist thang than connecting. It is after the connection is established that all the hard work begins. Not only must we paint, but we must learn to create product and then learn to sell product. Having people like your work is one thing. Having people like your work enough to buy it is something else.
It’s now after one in the morning and my day is now coming to an end. I am in the middle of preparing for a large festival where I will be exhibiting originals and selling archival prints of my works. I create everything in house, so the bulk of my day has been spent printing almost two hundred medium prints. On top of that, I had to pack up several original artworks that were leaving for their new homes, and send off a few orders that have come through the website. Thankfully, my daughter now does the post run for me, but while she was doing that, I had to answer emails and clean up the mess left from packing orders and paintings.
I’ve been dealing with a cantankerous printer all day too. Yesterday, when I was printing large prints, it worked like a honey. Today, whilst printing medium prints, it decided to behave like a right pain in the butt. So here I am, having to stop what I was doing every five prints or so to reset the printer because the paper would not feed properly. As a result, I’ve had no time to paint, and I still have two paintings left to complete before the Festival begins on the 16th of this month.
To prepare for this one show takes about three weeks for all the printing and packing, and another six weeks if I have to paint new artworks for display. While I am preparing for the Festival, I am not working on my tarot, which means after the Festival, I have to work double-time to make up for lost time so my schedule does not get completely blown out.
One show. I usually do two big festivals a year, as well as two or three online sales through Facebook. Every sale on Facebook results in at least a month’s work emailing, invoicing, printing, packing, shipping, tracking payments, monitoring layaways, and tracking shipments.
When I am doing all of the above, I’m not painting or writing.
Believe me, I’m not complaining. I love doing what I love, and the fact that I make a living from doing what I love is the best thing in the world, but being a professional artist is not just about painting and connecting. It’s a lot of work, effort, blood, sweat, and tears. It’s sometimes means working an 80 hour week just to meet deadlines, and doing that for many years for very little reward.
I’ve been doing this for ten years now, and did a lot for love alone for at least five of those years. Now, dedication and determination are showing a return, but with every new success, comes more work. That’s the thing most people forget … Success is not something that comes without effort.
Over the years I have seen and have met a lot of newbie artists who all want instant, overnight success. It’s often interesting to note how many of them are still at it a year, two years, or five years later. I would say that at least eighty percent give up and walk away within a couple of years because they are simply unwilling to pay their dues so to speak. This life is not for everyone. So many don’t understand just how much more needs to be done after the picture is painted.
It will be interesting to see if my daughter is still doing the art thang ten years from now. I hope she is because the girl has got real potential, but the difference between a hobby artist and a professional commercial artist is not in the painting, but the willingness to do all and everything that is necessary to promote both the art and the artist.after the paint has dried .. and you have to do it in a way that does not ‘lessen’ the beautiful nature of the art by reducing it to a commodity that only has a value in dollars and cents.
I guess that is where passion and love play the biggest role. If you can do the mundane side of selling what you create with as much love as you do the magical, then I feel you are always bound to succeed simply because you love.
“Speak Your Truth”
In the end, I decided to paint on a square canvas for the first time ever. I also decided to weave some sigils into his beak that say ‘Speak Your Truth’ …
The sigils turned out to be rather powerful, as they had me speaking my truth for the entire time I was painting it. Not that I don’t usually, but this week I was fearless, and stood up against a 50000 strong group whose leader felt it was doing me an honour to use my artwork to illustrate her spiritual message without asking me first if I actually even wanted my artwork paired with her message. She chose to ignore the ‘not to be used without written permission’ that I post on all of my artworks, and believed that she was above asking… Then, when my polite private messages were ignored, and I was forced to speak up on her page, I was the bad guy. THE VILLAIN.
It’s rather funny when all of her writing is copyrighted. I asked her how she would feel if somebody used her words to promote themselves without her blessing? Oh, but no, that is DIFFERENT!
I have children whose teachers have them email me to ask for my permission to use my artwork in their school projects, while ‘public figures’ believe that just because my art is on the internet that it is theirs to use as they please by doing so teach their followers to do the same. What’s the difference? I must admit to a little cynicism here because the group in question was a spiritual pagan group who believes that just because a message of love is being promoted that respect and honour go hand in hand because they are spreading the love. While the teacher is teaching their students not to assume and to ask first. The teacher is asking their students to respect and understand law.
Sorry, but this very spiritual artist calls that bullshit where the beliefs of the above-mentioned spiritual leader are concerned. Equality is respect. According someone with the same rights that you accord and expect for your own creations is respect.
Compliance and not attacking someone and accusing them of malicious acts when they ask to have their work acknowledged and credited is respect.
I have an enormous unshakeable faith in the Law of Attraction. If you live by false beliefs, you will eventually have that falseness revealed by reaping what you have sewn. The bigger the illusion, the greater the deception, the larger and harder the lesson will be.
In the end, I will say this … Speak your truth. It may not always be welcomed. It may not win you friends. In fact, it may see you ostracised and vilified. However, if you let fear have you cowering and remaining silent, then you are saying yes to being bullied. You are saying that you do not deserve to stand tall and shine … to be respected … to be seen as an equal.
And guess what? You do.
I haz a big sad. Over 3300 likes over on my Facebook page and here on Tumblr only 17 followers and it was 18 until somebody unfollowed me. Oh woe! It kinda sucks being a little fish in a big pond all over again. *goes off to her corner to sit talking to herself once more*
… my 18 year old daughter has more followers than I do … *ego crushed*
I’ll post some new piccas in a bitty bit … I’m just going to sulk a little more first.
How To Ensure You’re (Almost) Always RightBeing mindful of your cognitive biases isn’t enough“Facts that challenge basic assumptions—and thereby threaten people’s livelihood and self-esteem—are simply not absorbed. The mind does not digest them.” —Daniel Kahneman