Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Importance of Being Social

This morning I am driving down to Denver to do one of my favorite things: joining up with my art peeps for a licensing club meeting. The artist's life is by and large an isolated one. My studio is my favorite place to be in the a whole world. It is a haven, a sanctuary. But I need the interaction with other artists too. One of the managers at Hallmark, where I used to work, had the opinion that when artists left the company to go freelance, their work became stagnant because of the lack of interaction with fellow artists. I made it my goal that it would never happen to me!

My job is kind of weird, I know that, and other artists understand the peculiar struggles that this career entails. I go to the meetings to cheer on my friends' successes, and seek answers for my (many) questions. I get inspiration from seeing their beautiful work, the colors, the compositions. It's all so exciting! I also belong to a couple of online groups for licensing artists. I usually spend a part of each day "chatting" about the issues facing us. Most of these discussions are business oriented: dealing with clients, legalities, making presentations, that sort of thing, although there is also a lot of cheerleading too!

Speaking of getting inspiration from other artists, there has been a lot of discussion in the art community lately about plagiarism and copyright violation. I think for certain parts of the community, it is very easy to get swept up in your admiration of someone else's work. You might think, "I want to do that!" when you see that someone's success. But the thing is, the key to having really appealing artwork is to have it come from your own mind and heart. My agent and I talk about this sometimes. We'll see art that maybe isn't as technically proficient as the piece next to it, but it is so much more beautiful because of the heart that shines through. It's been said before, but the real answer is to just be yourself.

Now I'm off to hit the highway!

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's Time For....

How do you divide up your time? That is a question I have been struggling with. As a self-employed artist, I don't have a boss who sets a schedule for me. It is up to me to try and figure out the most productive use of my time. Time, there's never enough! How do you balance creating paintings that you are pretty sure will sell, and making time to try different, more experimental works? I know it is important to do both. If we all did the same thing year after year, we'd become pretty bored and stagnant. Yet the clients are always asking for the "same thing you did before that sold so well, except give it a fresh twist!" And are you like me, with a head that is just absolutely bursting with ideas that are crying out to be captured on paper? My agent says I should learn to paint with both hands at once!