First, I wanted to share my gratitude for the work and lifestyle that you and Alex inspire in my own life. I'm an art-student graduate and visionary artist. Art is more than a hobby to me, but I'm struggling to find the ideal living situation in which to work and practice. I'm a dedicated meditator and painter, feeling that I have not achieved the ideal "life current" needed to share my gifts. Since graduating art school, I've felt that I either have to dedicate too much time in a normal day job for the sake of making money to live alone in a setting that lacks support for spirituality or creativity. For me, an ideal living situation includes: a place that offers fulfilling work and people who share values including solitude and money, affordable, acceptable location, opportunities and restrictions on lifestyle.
What advice can you offer any to an artist struggling to find the ideal balance of fulfilling work, good company, and reasonable living costs?
Thank you for all that you do.
Thanks so much for writing and sharing your vision of the artist you would like to be.
Your instinct is spot on that an art path needs discipline and support. To cultivate the life of an artist, it is best to keep in mind that, in our material world, we have to consider time, space and materials.
Time: Pick the best time to make art in a day and stick to a schedule. Make art everyday that you can. Practice is the only way to improve and develop your unique gift.
Space: Find a space where art making is comfortable and attractive. A dark basement may not call you to work everyday. The corner of a bedroom might be sufficient if it is designated to that purpose with an easel and side table or desk. Have the tools ready and be able to leave and return to the work without much interruption. Organized is always best.
Materials: Use the best materials you can afford. It is not attractive to paint with inferior materials and the best results are less likely.
The most important consideration an artist has is their subject. Consider what inspires you and what you'd like to communicate. To cultivate your ideas, read and look at the artwork of others.
Go to museums and gallery exhibitions. Frequent cafe’s that exhibit art.
Be a part of your local art community wherever you are. Go to art events and meet other artists. Connections and opportunities arise in interaction with other artists.
Complete your artworks and consider how they will best be presented. This includes photographing them and framing. Be aware of opportunities to exhibit or share your work. Use Instagram.
Unless we are an heir, all artists have to “ride more than one horse.” That means that having a job is essential to support who you really are - an artist. We need to earn enough money to buy art supplies and to afford an art studio. Consider making your job life as close as you can to your art life. Working in a cafe that exhibits art could introduce you to other artists. You might help mount exhibitions. Working in an art supply store could familiarize you with materials and offer discounts, or you might meet other artists and find out about art openings and opportunities to exhibit. Being an assistant would indeed be a fine job. Keep your eyes and ears open to finding an artist who is successful and needs help. An artist assistant will not likely make art of their own while on the job and may more likely run errands, gesso a canvas or prepare their artist-employer in creating their art. Art centers and galleries hire art assistants.
Artist collectives are initiated by artist friends who take over and divide a loft, a building or house and share the expenses. You can initiate such a project or find one and jump into a collective in progress.
Because your question is relevant to many artists, we’d like to include an edited version of our communication on my blog, Ask Allyson About Art & Life. The post can either be anonymous or we can credit you, whichever you’d prefer. If you’d like to be identified and think you might benefit from posting a work of art along with your question, send a good picture of your best work and we'd love to share it with the post.
Also know that I offer 60-90 minuted Zoom consultations in which we would focus on your work and discuss ways to move forward into the art-life you envision. All proceeds for consultations are a contribution to CoSM, a non-profit art church. To find out more about Ask Allyson Art Consultations visit https://www.cosm.org/visit/art-and-life-consultations
Again, thank you for entrusting me with your art related question. Great to hear from you.
In loving service,