Anna Hergert, Art & Design

Pebbles of Inspiration

… On Living the Artist’s Life!
Living a creative lifestyle is one thing, making art your main focus and ultimately your career takes courage. There are a multitude of books on the subject of how to best “ride the wave” and stay on track. Reading these books helps to isolate certain suggestions and implement them into one’s artistic life.

Today I want to offer my view on the particular topic of teaching to augment sales from your art:
There are some artists who entertain the view that one can only call oneself a professional artist if he/she can support him/herself solely with the art they create. Anyone who has tried that route knows how difficult it can be to a) produce strong art without compromising one’s ideals and b) find representation to sell the art at a fair price to ensure adequate compensation.
Here is the truth of the matter: As artists we have to embrace challenges and opportunities. Creating art must always be on the top of the list. When we create we grow, we challenge technique, analyze design and give problem solving skills a good workout. On the other hand: Artists cannot live on air or love alone – we need shelter, we need nourishment and we need to interact with others every once in a while… Yes, there are potlucks and get-togethers, there are friends who support us no matter what and are willing to set an extra plate at the dinner table, and every once in a while there is a couch one can “surf on for a couple of nights.” But there comes a time when we want to grow up, become independent individuals and move on.
Selling art is not easy. Hiring an agent is one direction to take, at which time one has to consider that the agent and the gallery will take a cut from the pay cheque. If the art sells well and the artist has developed a good name with patrons and collectors sharing the wealth, so to speak, will be positive for all involved.
How does an emerging artist survive? Emerging artists diversify. Working in the neighborhood coffee shop as a barrista is a great way to bring in some cash and feel out the local scene. There is no additional work to take home and all free time can be used to create art. What if the artist is not interested in the wafting coffee aroma and chatter of customers, trying to keep orders  straight while performing at top speed to keep the line up moving?
Artists have a multitude of options, teaching art in community settings, art centers and schools may be just the best way to go. Teaching will keep the artist fresh. Exciting ideas often generate from merely watching students embrace the materials with fresh eyes. Dipping the brush into paint and spreading it on the canvas, threading the needle with two threads instead of one and altering the stitch presented, holding a hammer and mallet just slightly different may result in new possibilities – not just for the workshop participant but also the artist. Teaching is sharing one’s knowledge and satisfied students spread the word to friends and family. Teaching builds a support base for the artist, from generating interest for future classes to building a collector base for one’s art. Teaching is a great way to brake out of the “Where will my next pay cheque come from?” doldrums and may provide the building blocks for an independent career in the arts.
What is your opinion? Please take the time to leave a short comment – let’s start the discussion!

 

 

This entry was published on March 18, 2012 at 6:00 am. It’s filed under Art, Creativity Update, Journaling and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

6 thoughts on “Pebbles of Inspiration

  1. I have learned so much from the students I teach on a regular basis in a local quilt shop. They are energizing and very encouraging of my art work. It’s my favourite day of the week second only to ‘date day’ with my husband.

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  2. Joyce on said:

    This is a topic that I find very interesting . Some years back I did do a fair bit of teaching around NW Ontario and as far away as Ottawa. Yes, it had the positives you state but I found that it also took away family time and time from my own work . Yes, one is always inspired by students , but I have seen many well known quilters with broken marriages etc as they do not have enough home time . I guess it depends where one’s priorities lay . At that time I decided that it was more important for me to do my own work and have extra time with my husband . That I do not regret as he passed away almost nine years ago .

    Also , I want to comment on the fact that yes, I like to sell my quilts and have sold several but I find there is much gain in the actual creating , even of the ones I still own . This creating has helped me immensely in coping with the death of my youngest son several years ago and then that of my husband later on. I am certain that many women know of the healing that is part of working with fabric and thread .

    I realize this may be somewhat off topic . I believe that teaching most things is a great way to be refreshed and it was my carreer long ago. Making art with grade one and two children was fun !
    I also believe that selling ones work is enhanced by being present with it and of course it has to get out there to be seen.

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    • Joyce, I can relate – especially when it comes to sacrificing time away from family. I am in a very fortunate position however, my husband is retired and comes along whenever he can, especially in the summer. We pull a small camper and enjoy the sights along the way. I did not begin my traveling and teaching till our daughter was out of the house.
      You have raised some interesting points to consider. Thanks for commenting.

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      • Joyce on said:

        Thanks Anna,
        Aha ! You already know the upside of having your husband along . I wanted to mention that also but felt my message was getting too long . Often we did travel together and so it was a little holiday as well which was great as he was my #1 fan .

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      • Number 1 Fan and greatest supporter – ever since I started on my path as an artist!

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