Bridge the gap between making art and making a living,
… one tip at a time
Your smARTip for the week:
Why Do You Do What You Do?
Most of the time when I ask this question, I get a blank look from the artist.
It’s as if I’m supposed to know why they do what they do.
If I press the questions, I’ll often get variations of: I love to paint (sculpt/pot/weave, etc.) / it’s what I’m good at / people tell me they like what I do / I have to or I don’t feel completely me / I want recognition …
And none of these answers are wrong. In fact, there isn’t a right answer; there is only your answer.
What’s key is asking and answering the question so you have a north star for measuring your success.
Here’s what the sassy, smart Molly Gordon, MCC has to say:
“If your primary reason for making art is to heal yourself or the world, then the measuring stick you should use for success is how healing the work is.
If your primary reason for doing art is to express something in you, or to explore something new, or maybe to speak what you see on the edge of our collective awareness and help wake the rest of the world up, then those should be the measuring sticks you use.
How well are you living up to your part of those standards?
You can’t control whether or not people wake up, but you have a great deal of influence over whether or not you are doing work that has the potential to wake people up.
So when you’re thinking about that ninety percent under water, pull out the appropriate measuring stick. Because if you don’t know where you are successful, you will never have the momentum to keep moving.
And momentum is huge!”
Your smARTist Move of the week
Do this exercise to help you better align with success:
- Set up a quiet time to write where you won’t be disturbed for 15 minutes.
- Write down this question at the top of the page: Why do I do my art?
- As you write, notice which word or phrase has an emotional charge attached to it, like “heal the world.”
- At that point, stop write down a new question: “What do I mean by ‘heal the world?’”
- As you write, again notice which word or phrase has an emotional charge attached to, stop, and write down a new question: “What do I mean by ‘XXX?’”
- Continue this process until you feel that you’ve peeled back as many layers as you can to the original question: Why do I do my art?
- Look over what you’ve written and formulate an answer from your new understanding.
P.S. If you liked this smARTip, take a look at Molly Gordon’s entire presentation on “How To Be An Overnight Success.”
…where she talks about the most powerful force impacting what you do and who you are as an artist. Add It To Your Art Career Library!