May
12
2010

Waiting for the Ship to Come In by M Theresa Brown

 


You gotta love it! How can we not be inspired by the artists coming up to us after our seminars and telling us that we have opened new doors for them? Or that the group makes them feel as though they belong? Yet I was saddened that the laughter at my stories about my experiences in art school were so universal. Not just then, but now. And I thought about my early experience in art school....

Watching the video we filmed during our Jan 14 seminar....{OK I need to learn to stand still and we need the professional expertise of Burning Oak Studios!} however, you can still hear the turning point story. For me, my professors are all frozen in time. So are their comments and their voices. The world of the Internet was an eye opening moment for me when I re-discovered some of those same professors. And they were turning out the same art that they had told US not to create! So I am not quite sure why they were so adamantly pro "cutting edge" art at the expense of all other forms and styles of art. It seems that they were, in fact "closet realists" all along. But as I look back with a bit more aged wisdom, my earlier annoyance at that education from them softens a bit. I realize that they too were the products and victims of the times. But what about now? What is the excuse for the identical thinking that is still going on now?

Real life goes on. So being annoyed with them and their attitudes doesn't solve anything. And maybe they did me a favor. Convinced that portraiture was indeed "prostituting my art," maybe the years that I spent not creating art and running small businesses was the catalyst I needed for what I do now! Maybe that's why I have been successful where others have not. Maybe, just maybe, those years as a single mom raising four children on only the sales of my art were necessary to my art marketing journey and my "renegade" thinking! My need to feed four children was the real epiphany. It was as though the shackles of that earlier art education thinking had opened up to free me. It was the freedom to think on my own as an artist with no boundaries, no fences and no judgment. Because, quite frankly, I didn't care. And to paraphrase the words in that timeless song of "Me and Bobby McGee" .... "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose…"

So the epiphany for any artist is also personal. As a visual person it is easy to see art marketing education in a visual manner. Let's visit this visual together and see where it applies to your life!

Can you see your ship on the ocean's horizon? The one that you need to reach? Hmm, at some point it becomes obvious that your ship is not coming into shore. What to do? The waves keep you in or near shore where you can only splash around in one place safely. Besides, you know there are dangers out there! Sharks, jellyfish, a tiring swim.…all sorts of things designed to keep you in safe waters. There are even some weights around your ankles that keep you from really swimming. But that undertow keeps tugging at you, trying to pull you away from shore. One day an undertow catches you off guard and you are pulled into deeper waters. After a brief struggle you let the rip current take you out into deeper water and then, rather than returning to safe waters, you start swimming for that ship. You might have to pause and tread water. You might have to avoid the jellyfish and hope the sharks circle someone else or maybe swim fearfully right through them. But you are heading out to meet your ship!

And that has been my art marketing journey. It would have been easier with a guide or even a map. Or maybe a group of people swimming together might keep the sharks at bay :-) After all there is safety in numbers, right? Funny, that's kind of how life goes too isn't it? All of your life experiences are in play and have made you the person you are today! Your art is influenced by where you have been, experienced or seen as well. Good or bad, we can only take our experiences and determine if reaching that ship is a goal that we want. Any goal. Your ship.

Sometimes you have to stop treading water and swim for your ship. And it's OK if the undertow started you on your way!

ArtCareerExperts.com

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