You’re at an event, socializing with new people and having a good time. That is until they ask you what you do and, after hearing the word artists, the jokes and seemingly harmless jabs start. Artists are often subjected to clichés and stereotypes, from being a beret-wearing, cigarette-smoking perfectionist to someone who has a unique fashion sense and always carries a sketchbook.
But perhaps the most popular stereotype is being a starving artist. Plenty of people, including artists themselves, believe that being an artist offers no financial stability. That is why countless parents have discouraged their children from pursuing their passion for creative work. Even more toxic than this thinking, though, is romanticizing suffering and going hungry for your art.
But you can still be a great artist and thrive instead of starving. Just look at Michelangelo—he died a wealthy man because he refused to devalue his art. Fortunately, it’s not too late for you to turn your life around. Below are some ways you can go from a starving artist to a thriving one.
Draw a road map to your goals.
The first step to becoming a thriving artist is establishing goals and creating a plan on how to achieve each of them. Let’s say you want your art to be exhibit at a museum or gallery. How do you get there? First, you have to have art to exhibit, so you create. Next, you have to have an audience, so why not make a website, post your art, and use technologies such as PPC or pay-per-click advertising to get people to see them? After that, you need to have connections, so you socialize and build a network. With a plan in place, it’s easier to measure your progress toward success.
Know your art’s worth.
Your art is something you’ve spent time thinking about and creating. Apart from time, you’ve spent your other resources to produce it. So, it’s automatically worth something. And, if you believe in your art, you’ll place a value on it as it deserves.
Stop treating your talent as a hobby.
Your art is your business. Once you start treating it this way, it will be easier for you to thrive. Unfortunately, a lot of creative people still treat their art as a hobby that they do on the side. If you do this, you’re minimizing the value of your creations. There’s nothing wrong with being an artist full-time. Own it and learn how to do business out of it. Don’t use “hobby” as an excuse to unburden yourself from the responsibility of owning a business.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Comparing yourself to others is a one-way street to staying a starving artist. You will always feel not good enough, which can make you retreat into yourself, perfecting your craft. But you can’t make money without artwork to sell. So, give every single one of your pieces your best, and when they’re done, don’t compare them to others.
Most importantly, keep in mind that your art is valuable no matter what. And once you’ve changed your mindset about being a starving artist, not only will you be able to touch people’s lives and be a part of history using your art, you also get to live comfortably because of it.