The majority of artists that I have encountered express that there are two things that they want. One is to be able to focus on making ‘their’ work and secondly the desire to be able to sell the work that they make. Knowing what you want is critical to the process of making things. Understanding what your focus is and allowing a natural progression of what interests you creates a working environment that fosters compelling and accomplished work. Selling your work is another skill that all artists should be at least adequate at even if it means finding the right gallery or representative for what you do. Regardless, being able to communicate sufficiently to create opportunities is required.
When artists express this wish or hope there is typically a very obvious and apparent thing. That is that there is a distinct gap between the thing that they want and where they are. While this can be a frustrating and confusing admission, being honest and aware of this reality is a good thing. It sets in motion questions about why the thing that I want is not happening for me. So the question really is what do I do to narrow that gap between what I want for myself and where I am right now?
The thing that I see that sabotages any hope of good things happening is blaming the art world or this gets in the way or that stops me from acting in a way that might lead to good things and on and on. Oh artists never find success until we are dead…or aren’t we supposed to be counter culture and money goes against everything I believe in when it comes to my art. We can find easy excuses for not getting what we really want as we struggle along stuck in the gap.
The good news is that there is no great mystery that others have discovered and we havn’t. There are practical steps that everyone can take that can open doors of opportunity at every level of participation. There is one great truth that is absolute. Out of sight out of mind. If you are hunkered down in the studio without any visibility then get used to being stuck in the gap.If you are genuinely interested in the world of opportunity that exists outside of your studio then why not commit to making a move. Any move that brings you one step closer to what you want. That might mean entering a competition that tests your proficiency against other exceptional artists. Venture out of state and find out how you hold up in a larger venue. Submit your work for review at a gallery that you highly respect. Take a chance.
There are so many practical, doable things all artists can do to begin to shrink your gap. There is no mystery. There is just putting yourself out there and believing that there is no reason not to try. None! And what if you happen to find some measure of success and the thing that you imagine for yourself no longer seems so far away? What if one day you find yourself living the dream because you decided in one quiet moment to give it a try and one thing lead to another and another and another. That is how it happens. We take a step that leads to another step and we meet up with opportunity [and rejection] because we now believe we deserve to be part of that world as much as anyone else.
Art Basel? The Met? Collectors interested in me? What seems impossible to you right now? Once we begin taking steps then anything is possible. Really. Anything. One thing is for sure. If you are reading this and saying to yourself this is meant for others but for me this is impossible then I will agree with you. For you it is impossible. So if you have nothing to lose why not give something a try. Take one step to close the gap. If your work is good… why not you!