Things I wish someone had told me about being an artist (Part Three)
Know your value.
This is one I struggle with in a lot of ways. I'm somewhere stuck in the middle of being constantly told I sell everything too cheap, and not only wanting my work to cater for the rich and fabulous. Its an awkward place to be.
I used to incredibly undersell myself all because of the perception that I was no good. This goes back to my earlier earlier post, part one, when I was constantly comparing myself to others - with a side of never taking art seriously (because in my mind at the time, it wasn't a realistic career option) A couple of years ago, I was flicking off originals for about $40 on a good day. Factor in time and supplies and I would have been making roughly $5 an hour. Adding in the intangibles of work that give it value, years of practice, studies, training, experimentation etc - It ultimately ends up being one pretty valuable out come.
Even if you can create something in an hour, like me in a lot of cases, I'm a pretty quick painter when I'm not procrastinating. I don't rush anything, that's just how I work. It doesn’t mean it’s less valuable because for someone else to produce the same body of work it may take many more hours.
Someone once told me "If you don't value your own work, no one else will" - That's stuck with me.
Things I wish someone had told me about being an artist (Part Two)
You don't have to go to Art School.
I sometimes get asked where I studied, it's kind of known fact that I'm actually a University drop out. Or lesser known fact rather, I was kicked out. I flunked miserably.
I loved high school art class. In my final year there I achieved top of the class award, I also took photography and graphic design classes. I was quite invested in an artistic career from early on. I decided to do a 4 year art degree under the impression I would be learning hands-on practical skills to becoming a professional artist. I couldn't be more wrong. Instead I was inundated with multiple essays about seemingly irrelevant topics, speeches and other written theory. Truth is, you didn't need an ounce of artistic talent to do well in that course. I think I failed every assignment I attempted. I left after a year, thinking I was a complete failure that I can't do the one thing I thought I was capable of - art. I didn't paint for probably a year or two after that.
I'm a big believer in self-teaching. Sitting at a computer here, right now, I have direct access to different artists all over the world. I have the combined wisdom of the artistic community to pull from at my leisure. I can search youtube tutorials and learn how to use a new technique in less than 5 minutes, and for less money than a month at university I can attend practical workshops hosted by established artists.
If you want to become a great artist, don’t ask permission to become one. You don’t need someone to give you an assignment. You learn technique because you want to learn. Study art you admire. If you find a successful artist to look up to, ask that artist for advice. Taking a class with a strict and bound curriculum might make you more knowledgeable, but it sure as hell won't make you a better artist. The art is in your own hands and ability.
You don't need a degree in Fine Arts to be an Artist. If you want to be an Artist - then do it.
I wish someone had told me about being an artist (Part One)
Don't compare your work to others - Only ever compare your work to your old work. On numerous occasions during my high school days I would find myself scrolling through different artists work, commonly with the thoughts of something like "wow, This guy can paint in hyper realistic oils, There's no way I can ever paint like that, why am I even bothering". I only overcame this when I completely stopped trying to do what other people were doing and did my own thing. Turns out my own original ideas of art are good enough to now land me multiple exhibitions and media articles, something high-school-me would have never thought I'd achieve.
While I still can't draw hyper-realism graphite like Diego Fazio, nor do I possess the spray painting skills of Owen Dippie, I can doodle fairly well in watercolours, so I'm going to run with that.