Weekly smARTips: From Dharma to Profit

Weekly smARTips From Dharma to Profit

Move your career into high gear… one tip at a time!

Your smARTip for the week:

From Dharma to Profit

Since my very first opening comments at the very first smARTist Telesummit in 2007, I’ve been talking about the relationship of our internal reality to our external reality, and vice versa.

And I had some push back that first year from artists who didn’t want to hear what they identified as “new age” or “woo woo.” These artists wanted practical information. Period.

My problem (not theirs) is that I’m hard wired to look under the hood of practical information to understand the psychological, emotional, or spiritual foundation.

It’s the very same instinct that turns up in my book on artist statements (again, challenged by artists who didn’t find value in looking under the hood).

Which, honestly, confused me a lot since I have always equated artists with curiosity.

And curiosity is…an impractical state of being, might even be labeled “woo-woo,” that leads to very practical results.


The starting point is inside out


Well, this point could be debated, much like the nature/nurture controversy.

Navigating our 3D reality means we need both inside and out – they are interdependent.

So, let’s agree that ONE starting point is inside out.

Eden Maxwell, an artist who understands and works with Dharma (that which holds the fabric of reality together), offered this Zen parable when he spoke at the 2012 smARTist Telesummit:

The Empty Teacup

Hundreds of years ago, a wealthy Japanese businessman wanted to learn Zen Buddhism.  So, an appointment was arranged for him to visit a Zen master in the countryside.

The businessman arrived at the Zen master’s home.  The master welcomed him into his home.  They sat down on the floor, near a table, and the master was going to pour tea, which was a custom in Japan.

Then, the master started to pour tea into his guest’s cup.  He kept pouring, and pouring, and pouring, until it started to overflow. And it kept overflowing onto the table, and then onto the guest.

Finally, the businessman said, ‘Stop, stop!  The cup is overflowing!’  The Zen master said, ‘You are like this cup.  You are overflowing with ideas and opinions.  How can I teach you Zen?’

This, as Eden pointed out, is about the way our preconceived notions and opinions prevent insight.

And that insight is the core of any original work.

And without original work, how does your artwork generate profit?

Only I think there’s more to it than insight=original work.

I think you have to back up a step and add a step:

Curiosity  -> Insight -> Original Work = Profit

And preconceived notions stop curiosity from even sitting down at your table.


Your smARTist Move of the week:


Being curious is a useful tool to get around preconceived notions in all areas of VASE: Visual Artists Self-Employed (courtesy of Sari Grove).

This week, I want you to write down the answers to a two-part question:

1)  Where am I stopping myself from being curious about 2) which aspects of my art career?

Yes, you may have to add another step before you can answer this and list all the aspects there are to your art career.

It will be an insightful, dare I say even “practical” exercise that can yield far more than you’d think out of 15 minutes.


One area I see a lot of artists having preconceived notions is about how to create cash flow. It’s as if the preconceived notion of original work slams the door shut on other viable possibilities.

I created a “Worksheet on Alternative Income” from your skill sets to offer you a chance to stop the teacup from overflowing.

Watch your inbox for a download link.

4 Responses to “Weekly smARTips: From Dharma to Profit”

  1. Alice Hunt says:

    I feel I have been curious about so many aspects of my art career, I have tried so many things. I have found that it is 10% creativity, and 40% productivity and at least 50% marketing. I get tired of the marketing being so much more than the creating.

  2. Janet Glatz says:

    This is a brilliant exercise. I printed the short instructions and will to it today.
    Thank you, Ariane, for yet another valuable tool for artists who take their careers seriously.

  3. And, thank you, Janet, for honoring your relationship to you art at such a high level.

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