It never ceases to amaze me how many ways that we can recycle and it’s a great thing that recycling has become so topical nowadays. I remember when I first started working with the found plastics that I discovered when I was walking the beaches collecting driftwood, to make my furniture. Given the fact that I wanted to use recycled driftwood to make my furniture, it was indicative that I had it in my system to want to reuse objects. It began for me with driftwood, well before it became fashionable to make furniture from this material.
I have often been asked what my definition of success is and whether or not I consider myself successful. The parameters by which I define success are particularly wide. I don’t feel that it’s confined to financial success or necessarily aligned to fame, though it may be the case that someone is financially rewarded for what they do or receive generous accolades along the way.
Artists have varying degrees of success at different points in their lives. These moments when experienced can test you in many ways, which can both increase that achievement or dilute its effect on your career. It depends often on how you respond to the success that comes your way.
Do you respond to success or do you react to success? It is exceptionally easy to undermine anything, but undermining success can be the simplest thing to do. Most people crave for positive achievements and accolades as much as they fear it and it is in both the craving and the fearing of success that the problems germinate and the possibility of undermining your achievements of success begin.
Many galleries I’ve worked with have asked me to create smaller works, or works ‘like the one that sold’ etc. In the meantime I have continued to make whatever has been my whim. I have one of the most varied outputs in style of all the artists I know.
I think this includes aspects of my career as an artist. In my own eyes, and in the eyes of those I have successfully convinced through my relentless media releases and PR campaigns, I am highly successful on most levels. In the meantime life goes on and different things become important in a career; sometimes this can mean total shifts in emphasis and direction.
There are also times where we as artists feel we may have undermined our success by standing in the way of opportunities in some way, or that on reflection we may have preferred to approach one process or another in a vastly different way. Whatever the case, we experience challenges in our art careers for one reason only and that is to learn, develop and grow not only as an artist but also as a person.
You will find through reading this it will become clear why when you walk through that door the first time, whether it be a gallery, an agent or a potential client, plan to walk through that door twelve times. This will develop your character to the point that after you hear a years worth of no’s you will still stay inspired because you have learnt from them by remembering it’s how you end something how it begins.
That question was this: how am I going to make a living out of my career as an artist?
Your work in the studio is something completely different. The success that you have with the work that you create in your studio will stand alone by itself, you will either have successful breakthroughs which will make your work stand out or not; only time will tell. However, to get your work out there into galleries, in front of the general public and collectors, will need you to in some way, develop a systematic approach and to develop a systematic approach you will need an action plan.
If you live in a town or suburb where there are only two or three newspapers or magazines, pitch to your favourite one or at least to the newspaper and the magazine which you feel will best suit your ends. Make a connection with the editor if possible and let them know that you won’t be sending the same information out to their competition. If you do this you’re more likely to have a published verbatim alongside the excellent quality photograph you submit along with the media release.