Major Internal shifts

I believe I made a major conceptual shift during and since the Civilians show. It now feels realistic that I can start to sell more of my work. I sold several pieces at ‘Civilians’ so it feels like the idea is no longer pie in the sky. It looks like I can realistically plan to make more sales, both through my online shop and through physical shows. This probably sounds strange to anyone but an artist but I have been producing work for so long with so few sales that it started to feel normal and that is what is changing.

I believe this is a major change, heralding a new stage of my career as an artist. This is important for me, it has taken me a long time to build my personal confidence and a coherent body of work. Integral to this change is the understanding of how important it is to be prepared to fail. I do believe that you have to be ready for things to not work. And that takes courage, understanding and self belief.

Failure is integral to the next success

This understanding is about accepting that failure is integral to future success. What I mean by this is that you have to be prepared to try things and if they don’t work adjust them and try again. This is well understood in the design sector as an integral part of a cycle of design refinement but in fine art It is easy to feel that failing is disastrous.

Failure is not often catastrophic, nor is it monolithic. One aspect of a project might fail and therefore the whole thing could be seen as a write-off but often it is simply a question of trying almost the same thing again with a few key changes for an idea to work. Goal orientation is problematic in that it encourages an all or nothing approach, either you win or you are a loser. This is dangerous, high stakes stuff. I think its time to be less (big) goal oriented and start appreciating the incremental progress that is easy to overlook when you are living through it day by day.

Change is hard

I am currently working with US art marketing advisor Cindy Hohman to learn about online marketing. I am noticing that it has taken me ages to commit to doing this work, that I have been sceptical and resistant to making changes in my work patterns and in my attitudes. It’s been increasingly obvious that something in my practice had to change.

Taking the risk of reaching out

The most obvious problems have been in delivering my work to an audience which I have always found problematic. I tended to avoid tackling this because it’s always seemed such a conundrum and many of my marketing endeavours in the past met with mixed results. In the end I have concluded that I have to risk trusting other people whose expertise is greater than mine. I am so used to working things out on my own and improvising solutions it’s hard to admit that I need help in some areas.

Working with an advisor and discussing issues with fellow artists offers a much richer sounding board than working on your own. At this point I am enjoying the connectedness of it and the sense of learning and progressing (which I have always loved about intense learning experiences). I have a feeling I will return to this subject, so watch this space…