3 answers

What are the pros and cons of a artist?

Asked Memphis, Tennessee

3 answers

JoAnn’s Answer

Updated Atlanta, Georgia

As a professional visual fine artist, instructor, TV and Film Producer, animator, etc., I will state the following: It depends on if you are becoming an artist just to express yourself, then money does not matter, but if you are into it to make good money, you can. Here are the things I learned to do and not to do, and how I now make money.

PROTECTION: FIRST Always get the copyrights to your work. 1) poor mans' version: Mail a copy of it to yourself certified, do not open it, only allow a judge to open it during court (if you have to sue someone). 2) Submit the VA form of your work to https://www.copyright.gov/ . You can submit several picture copy pieces (a series) of your work that relate to each other on one form. You do both 1 and 2 for back up protection for your work.

Also never allow someone even news people to take a photo of your work unless you are in it holding your work for a news story that mentions your name as the artist. I made this mistake, I allowed this reporter of this well known organization during a press conference to take a picture of one of my paintings without me in it. My art work was revised just a little by this organization, of which this well known organization took credit for it, and made a lot of money for their organization.

PROS: The Pros are the following- 1) You do not have to go the starving artist route, you can work a regular job, or a job in your field as you build your reputation of your own as an artist. Then when the time comes, and money is saved, and budgeted to live off of it for a year or more, or you are making a great steady income with your art, then go full time with your art. 2) You can freely express yourself. 3) Despite the usual way of thinking, if you know how to market yourself, you can make good money. To make good money you must believe that you can, and not feel that you need to give your work away for free in order to get exposure ( people will truly use you on this one, even churches). Back in the day I did this, and boy was I used. They loved my work, but some even took credit for it ( stealing), and I did not get one referral, this included Churches). I finally started charging what I was worth. One customer stated to me, " If you allowed me to talk your price down then I would have lost all respect for you, and just used you." This showed me that being a visual artist, selling my work, also means that in order to get paid and be respected I must be business minded as well.

Now I will say that exposure can be used as a good marketing tool, BUT use exposure the right way that will include you on the winning side.

EXPOSURE: Do this ONLY ONCE a Year for a LIMITED TIME. I would suggest choosing the person, place, etc. that will give you the best exposure and do it for practically nothing ( get them to pay for all materials, transportation, food, so that only your time and talent will be donated). Do this ONLY ONCE a Year for a LIMITED TIME ONLY. Build your connections, get good paying referrals, keep in touch with your contacts, invite them out to your shows, etc. Make sure that you NEVER sign over the rights to your work. Always keep your name attached to your work as the artist ( you can also keep an ongoing percentage coming in, but this is another how to article I may share at a later time). Always take pictures of your work and copyright them.

Build a video of your work. People love art, but when you combine it with a creative video to express yourself, they will love it even more. You can put a water mark on each piece of your work and state that you have the copyrights to it, etc.

Most people do not know this, but building your art and your name is very important ( a brand). You want to build respect in the art world. If you sell your work for cheap, the value of your art and your name goes down. Start looking at art as an investment. They actually have investor's art books and magazines that list artist that were approved to enter which shows the value of their art, and how it goes up.

There are so many things that I can go into, that will benefit you as an artist. Like take a marketing class to help you market your work. Do not take other people's opinion about your work to heart. Everyone's opinion and taste can be different. Maintain your skills, and grow the God given talent God gave you. DO NOT copy other artists, trace, or use templates, for you will never build your gift and talent, plus copying other artists is not truly being an artist... and my list goes on.

The bottom line is that as an original artist, your world is unlimited, with hard work, always believing in your God given gifts, and if managed and marketed properly, your world of art is what you make it. No one can create your art work exactly like you, it is your vision, and your vision alone.

CONS: The only con that I can think of is whether you decide to work for yourself or someone else: Know your worth. You are the artist with original worth, so you control the ball not anyone else who may bring promises, dreams, stories, etc. If you hear someone say " I can get my 7 year old nephew to do the work you can do, so lower your price." Your response should be " Well do it. Thank you for your time" then smile and not let this person even waste anymore of your time. On your own time, learn, build, always grow better, but NEVER let anyone make you loose sight of your artistic worth, not even an instructor. I am not saying to be cocky, arrogant, or disrespectful, but I am saying do not let anyone make you feel that your worth is only dirt cheap, because it is not.

As an instructor I never believed that someone should do their art like someone else. I always knew for a fact that your vision is what makes you a true artist, it only belongs to you.

You can always email me if you have more questions that you think that I can help with:

Author : JoAnn Pinkney Wilcox, http://www.ypdproduction.com

JoAnn recommends the following next steps:

  • Look at all forms of famous artist work to see how diverse art can be.
  • Learn about marketing and advertisement.
  • Take a video editing class. This will help display your work in a creative way.
  • Do not forget to protect your work legally.
  • Make sure that if you work for someone doing art work, do not let them take full rights of your work (if you created it by yourself, keep proof that you are the original artist), or prevent you from creating something similar for your own collection to what you created for them. I would create art that is good enough for the job, but the real one for my own collection. Keep enjoying creating your own art ( do not copy others, and claim as your own), despite the business side that should be learned and activated.

Nathan’s Answer

Updated Brookline, Massachusetts

I am assuming you are asking the question, pros and cons of being an artist. Pros, creativity, individuality, self expression. Cons, it's a struggle, finding work, and getting paid. The roll of the artist is highly romanticized one, so before you start you need to be brutally honest with yourself. Am I willing to sacrifice everything? You may find the struggling artist is only all too real. When I started my art career, struggle was all I knew. Food was a luxury, even riding the bus to get to galleries and potential clients was a treat. Trying to break into the art world was like banging my head against a brick wall. It took time, slowly I met people, found a gallery where I could work part time and show my work. It took several years, so be prepared. You can do it. Can you handle constant criticism and rejection, when you start, that is at best, all you will get. If you can handle these things, then, yes, be an artist! You will manage your own time, be able to do what you love, express yourself creatively, meet people, go places and see things in a way others do not. Artists have a unique view of the world, you will need to be passionate, even emotional about what you do. One means I found to make use of emotional response while working on very spiritual paintings was to use my tears in my paintings. When working on depictions of water, I would wet small areas of the page as I cried, (painting water always makes me cry, don't know why) the way the paint them combined and bled into the liquid created the most beautiful feather like patters. The point here is, creativity can be draining, exhilarating, emotional, you will need to find ways to harness and use that energy in a positive way and avoid things that are self destructive. Discipline, hard work, commitment and a willingness to expose your soul to the world will be required. Years ago I saw a Play called "Stieglitz loves O'Keefe" I do not remember who wrote the play or the performers, even the theatre, it was in Seattle somewhere. In the play there is a line O'Keefe says, the gist of which has stuck with me for life. "Being an artist is like reaching deep inside myself, pulling out my guts, and screaming, for all the world to see, this is who I am". All that said, Being an artist is an amazing thing, for those of us who are, the pros far out weigh the cons, we have a message, a purpose and a passion few others can understand, and the luxury to be who we really are. I do not want you to be discouraged, but to realize, it is a life long commitment to being honest with yourself and standing up to the world and proclaiming without fear, "This is who I am"! That is the greatest pro of them all. If you choose to follow art, the worst thing that might happen is you will find it is not for you. If you don't give it a try, however, you will always ask yourself, "What if I had been an artist"? Life should have no regrets so always have a back up plan.

Nathan recommends the following next steps:

  • Think long and hard, am I willing to sacrifice, struggle and be true to myself? It's not an option. Write down your thoughts so you can go back to them and see what you have been thinking.
  • What are my long term goals, happiness, fame, wealth, something else? You need to have a goal, not for next week, next year, but for life. What do you want to accomplish, who do you want to be, what do you want to leave behind as your artistic legacy? Be honest, write your thoughts down, they will evolve and change as you gain experience, but at some point they will solidify and you will have the record to review and guide you until that point.
  • Meet other artists, talk with them, what has been their experience, learn how they got started and take advice and counsel from them. The information they can provide will guide you to understanding if being an artist is for you.

Nikhil’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

PROS : Gather attention & interest of the audience, keep them occupied/mesmerised in the ART

CONS : Should not criticise other professions.. instead take every opportunity to improve their craft & inspire other aspiring artists to pursue their goals.