“But Crista,” the artist asked, “How can I make a living from my art?”
“I wanna be wealthy! I wanna live on a beach! I wanna be dripping in jewels! And I want my art to pay for all of it!”
Then I reply with something that artist Kiki Smith once told me: “Your art doesn’t exist to support you. You exist to support your art.”
That’s right. Turn it around.
You weren’t given this talent so that you could take from it.
You were given this talent so that you could nurture it. You were given this talent so that you could share it. You were called to be an artist so that you could serve your work.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t live on a beach and make huge gobs of money. Maybe you can.
But it does mean that you may be looking at your gift the wrong way.
Instead of being angry that the collectors aren’t banging on your door clutching fistfuls of cash, try asking yourself this one simple question: Are you supporting your art?
- Are you continuing to learn those things that make you a better artist?
- Are you truly committing to your practice?
- Are you contributing to your art community?
- Are you leaning into those difficult tasks that get your work in front of a larger audience?
Imagine your artwork was your child. Are you investing your resources into its future?
I’m challenging you to identify one way that you could support your creativity even better than you are now. And then take the steps to follow through.
Because what’s the best way to make a living from your art? What’s the best way to attract support from others? What’s the best way to build a lucrative career?
Investing in yourself first.
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