A friend of mine stopped by my studio last week and shared a story about Harold Balazs. Harold is an artist legend from the Inland Empire region. His art can be found almost everywhere in Spokane, Washington. My friend saw him the day before he died and asked him if he had any advice for her. Understanding it would most likely be the last time they spoke, Harold proclaimed, “Don’t live too close to the dump!”
Artists are sponges. Everything becomes a part of us. What are you living next to that is being channeled into your work? Whatever you read, watch or discuss is going to show up in what you create. Location is equally important.
Do you have a special workspace set aside used only for creation? If not, do you have a place to keep your thoughts and ideas other than just in your head? Artists need space. Space allows growth. Artists truly bloom while creating.
What I do when my studio starts to become reminiscent of Francis Bacon’s workspace is take myself outside. There is nothing more inspirational than nature. Every element is perfection. Even dead decaying trees are glorious. Look closely at the next moth you encounter. Have you ever created such beauty as this tiny creature that flutters favoring the light?
Enough about my thoughts, what have you been doing to show your work? Marketing should be on your artist to-do-list. How are you allowing others to see your art? Is it being showed in your community? If not, what can you do this week to allow others to see it? What do other successful artists do to show their work?
Who is your favorite artist role model? It should be someone who not only has amazing art but also has a marketing system that works. When we look at others who are being successful our sponge-like selves can swell with ideas. Find three artist websites that you wish were your own. Send them to me so I can see what you appreciate in the way others’ display their work.
In the last letter you asked if I could look at your latest art piece. I’m willing; but do know that I am not going to fruitlessly inflate your ego. Expect honest feedback. The the most growth provoking critiques are the ones that are simple and direct.
Because time is sacred a 5 star system will be used. If the work speaks to me on a personal level, I will give it a 5; which means I would purchase it if I were so inclined. A 4 star means the work is strong and it has elements that are worthy, even powerful in some way. A 3 star rating is mediocre, but not horrible. The 2 star often needs something eye catching to make it worth looking at, in other words, it needs a mustache. A 2 star needs more time and effort but may be a fine start. Finally, the 1 star means that the piece needs much done to get to the 2 star level.
One last note, if you get upset over a rating of an art piece you have two choices. Proceed and ignore my opinion, or revisit it with awakened eyes. Clarity is not always possible when submerged in our own work. A fresh viewpoint can open pathways and lead to much fruition. With true feedback artists can realize what is needed sooner, rather than later. This is an invaluable offer and it’s free.
Paint like it matters,