Working in a dark uninspiring space is no fun. I did this for 15 years along with having other jobs.
Now…after years of planning, I’m almost ready to open my dream mecca studio. And yes, I’m still pinching myself to make sure it is real.
If you are an artist with dreams, you can do it too with a little thought and a whole lot of planning.
Here are 11 things to remember to get there
- First things first.Accept that there will be many iterations of your work space and enjoy each one. Each enhancement along the way is part of the process. What do you get from this? Clarity
- Take inventory of where you are. in your career. Emerging artist? Beginner? Advanced? How much do I sell? What is the least I can settle for (in a studio) and reach my current goals? What is the most I can handle financially? My advice is to always live beneath your means if you want something better.
- Do the math. :) OK, OK, no one said this part would be fun. Outline a budget of what you want to make this year and how many of each item you want to sell in order to get there. Revisit the budget at the end of your year (it doesn’t have to be a calendar year) and adjust the numbers each year as your work changes and grows.
- Resolve to be persistent. The most important thing, especially if you are just beginning, is to make time for your studio practice. Carve out this time. Put it on your calendar. Inform all of your family members that this is an absolute–then reward those who honor your studio time. If for some reason (sickness, emergency) you can’t be in your studio at the scheduled time, focus on parts of your art practice that you can control. For example, when I was sitting at hospitals, doctor’s offices with my Mom, I did not have the time to work in the studio. I put together an “art bag”. This “art bag” contained drawing supplies, writing paper and pen, a computer and information on a current topic like how to manage your Facebook page or rewriting your artist statement.
- Save for your dream. This is really really hard. If you have children, it’s a lot harder. Set the savings goal that you can manage and pay yourself first. Only you can figure out how to make this happen. Enough said.
- Get your art out of the studio. Maybe it’s a coffee shop this year and a nice group exhibition next year.
- Connect. Oh, I mean face to face. Not just online. Visit openings, art shows, exhibitions and become a member of a local art guild. They offer opportunities to show your work.
- Connect offline. Period
- Keep it professional on Facebook, Twitter and blogs…no one cares how mad someone made you because they didn’t like your art or some political comment over the court decision on health care. No one. Don’t complain about show directors. They have very long memories. Verbalizing the complaints or gossiping with others about complaints only makes it grow in your mind. Lose the negative.
- Be confident and positive, but real.
- Review your accomplishments at the end of each year. See #4–Resolve to push it farther during the coming year. Before you know it, each year will build on the others.
Now, in a few weeks, Buffalo River Farm and Studio in Summertown, Tennessee will be open and it is my dream come true.
How are you making your dreams come true? Now, Go and list all the ways you do that in the comments.