Monday, September 3, 2018

Open for business

I’ve had a hard time taking myself seriously as an artist. I always knew I was an artist and had a unique voice, back to when I was in the second grade and won an elementary school-wide poster contest sponsored by the fire department. As an adult I’ve created a lot of art and have received mostly enthusiastic feedback.

But when I see artists on Instagram who are stars on the platform making triple-figure incomes, I feel taken aback. Where do they get all that gumption, I wonder. Promoting myself and encouraging people to buy my art always felt like asking a favor. After all, art isn’t a necessity like food or gas.

Recently I had a switch in mindset that has meant everything in terms of my feelings about promoting my artwork. In addition to being an artist, I’ve started to think of myself as an entrepreneur. On the suggestion of Abby Glassenberg of, I read a book called “Growing a Business” by Paul Hawken.

Hawken says that a successful business solves a problem. While it’s true that art may not be as necessary to life as food or housing, there are people and businesses who need art to thrive. Galleries need artwork to sell. Caf├ęs have blank walls that need art. Living spaces also have blank walls that need art.

I don’t think I ever questioned that I had something to say, or even that people would want to see my art – it was the commerce of art that had me stumped. That feels like the missing piece to the puzzle, and now I feel ready to charge ahead with my goal of putting my artwork in the hands of those who want – and need – it.