If you think being an artist means colors, creativity and beautiful creations ...read this and you might just think again!!
It often takes years of education and practice to perfect one’s craft skills. But if you ask an artist that is not all he needs to think about. While most of the time he should be focusing on creating art pieces, that is not that easy, especially when your art is the medium for your living too. For those who pursue art just as a hobby an appreciation is all that motivates them and keeps them going, and if they get some profit out of it ... that’s a big high for them landing to cloud 9. But there are some who need to pay their bills while creating his or her next collection and so generating a modest living out of their work is a necessity for sustaining oneself.
While every artist has a unique set of challenges here are some which many can relate to when it comes to pursue art and craft for making money as an important factor:
i. It can be difficult to find work in the art field, and, as a consequence, many artists are forced to find other work for income. Often friends and family members discourage the full-time pursuit of art because of its uncertainty to generate income for living. It is a big challenge for an artist today to get both financial and moral support to develop their work. Without a doubt, maintaining consistent cash flow is biggest challenge for almost every artist I know.
ii. Every artist need not have good marketing skills and so it is difficult to market and sell the art work. The art market is extremely competitive. The cost of producing art and presenting it in a marketable way requires investment and skills other than artistic skills. Gaining publicity and to attract attention from potential collectors is another major issue especially for a new artist.
iii. An artist is having to play too many roles. Trying to find the time to be creative is a really tough thing to do. Artists are a small manufacturer. They manufacture art work and sell it to people who appreciate art. Therefore, an artist, like any manufacturer, has to spend time doing the manufacturing, doing the marketing of their product and doing the other matters that business necessitates. This is a lot of work. Managing time can be issue for some as being a full-time artist it is difficult to figure out “how to incorporate promoting yourself while continuing to produce art”. Promoting yourself is also a full-time job and you need to utilize all your contacts and resources wisely in order to properly represent your creations. I think the biggest challenge of being a full-time artist is managing the business end of your work. Most artists find it difficult to handle invoices, marketing, obtaining new clients, balancing life/art, etc.
iv. Handmade Vs Factory or ready made is yet another challenge for an artist. Unfortunately, too many people haven’t developed an appreciation for handmade artisan creations and tend to do comparison shopping between factory-made (and frankly, inferior) works and those created one at a time by an artist who adds touches that no manufacturing process could hope to capture. It has huge gaps in terms of the cost of product, time to procure and pricing of product. If an artist wishes to be successful, their product has to be attractive and useful for the end user. Not only this it has to competitive in the market place.
v. Some artists find it difficult to stay creative and innovative in their work. As with any career, there are days when you do not feel motivated and you struggle to find something you are passionate about doing. To overcome these moments, one should meditate and take break for refreshing its mind … go to museums to gain inspiration, read a lot, travel, observe.
vi. Being a solo entrepreneur can have different challenges such as knowing when to get help. When one works alone on an average day, there can be many situations from machinery not working, computer issues, accounting and customers wanting something new and exciting to launch. This is when one should know when to call for help for the issues and where you can look for help. Artist need to learn some basic technical stuff too along with art, such as photography skill, computer skills etc. and learning to deal with technical glitches in these which are bound to occur.
There can be many more challenges apart from these as being an artist is not as easy as it might appear. It needs sacrificing time, effort, relationships, and money, with no guarantee of success. It's a total gamble, based only on faith that one day you will make good work that has value and significance.
But, for most of us, faith alone is not enough to endure the time it takes to see a reward.
I would advise, always paint from your heart, don’t paint what sells. Artists should avoid exploiting themselves based on the art market. We should listen to our inner voice as creative artists, even if that means going against the grain of popular directions within the art world. If you are driven with passion for art and uphold your faith, success is bound to follow!!