Return of the King. Return of the Queen.

by smARTist speaker, Eden Maxwell

You are making art, and you feel that your creations should support you. Is this a reasonable demand, or not? Didanyone guarantee this financial arrangement?

Let’s look and dig deep. Having your art exhibited and acquired by collectors adds up to prestige and money. But, what if this is not happening? Having or knowing your philosophy will make the difference between a sense of fulfillment and a sense of failure.

You are on sacred ground when you know where you stand. Knowing the value of your work will carry you through the toughest of times. Making art for art’s sake is both liberating and demanding. You must be willing to pay the price for creation whatever it might be. Otherwise, who is fooling whom?

Failure is not about your work being under appreciated or rejected; failure is when you give up on your art, your dream, your baby.

The essence of making art is to be in that magical space of creation where time and space support your passion. Everything after the painting (name your art form) is marketing, timing, and a bit of luck.

If your art isn’t yet paying the bills, you must continue to step up and make the hard decisions, like a king or queen who is ultimately responsible for the well-being of the realm.

To get at the bottom line of making it as an artist, the ante is to do whatever it takes to keep going so that you can be in that sublimely powerful creator space. Despite being full of himself, a young Picasso designed menus, promotional flyers, and posters to put food on his table. Paul Gauguin, to earn a few francs, resorted to hanging posters to buy art supplies. In my life, knowing that I had a higher purpose, I took on many mindless, low-level menial jobs to keep my art life alive.

Regardless of past fence sitting, when you bravely confront whatever is necessary for your art, you will sense that you–the king or queen–has returned to your throne of purpose in life.

The true artist will always find a way.


Eden Maxwell is a painter and writer. He is the bestselling author of The Magnificent Book of Kites; and he has contributed to numerous publications, including: Popular Science, Omni, MacUser, Art Calendar Magazine, and the Drachen Foundation Journal.

And he’s coming to the smARTist Telesummit 2012 with his presentation on Define and Establish Your Value as an Artist with Three Key Questions”

His paintings are in private collections worldwide—and his art has been exhibited on both coasts, including the World Trade Center and the Madison Square Garden Museum of Sport. His work has also been featured in The Adobe Illustrator WoW Book and the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Eden had embarked on a thirty-year long odyssey to discover that his dharma, his purpose in life, dwelt in the wellspring of art. During his journey of self-discovery, he had the remarkable distinction of being the student of a great Zen master artist for many years.

He chronicles his rites of passage adventure and lessons in his most recent book—An Artist Empowered.

5 Responses to “Return of the King. Return of the Queen.”

  1. John Bowen says:

    Increasing sales, and closing sales are my two biggest problems. I feel like I’m doing alot to get my sales up. The economy isn’t helping. I know everyone is feeling it too. I’m a watercolorist, and I know that has some drawbacks of it’s own. I’m open to almost anything, with in reason.

    • Eden Maxwell says:

      Answer my three core questions (I go into these on the SmARTist Telesummit) and you will gain a sense of grounding that will open opportunities for you.

      Do not be attached to any particular outcome and you will mine new territory.

  2. While I do OK at making a living with my art, I don’t make enough to purchase health insurance – and my hubby is a full time musician, so no fall back spousal steady paychecks for us! My solution: a part time job at a local hospital. Sixteen hours a week = full health insurance for BOTH of us. It’s ok to do something on the side. We never have to worry about what our aging bodies are going to wipe out financially.

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