Without a certain amount of self-confidence an artist or student won’t have the required ability to put him/herself out there by marketing their art. If you want to market yourself correctly you need to not only feel confident about what it is that you do by creating good strong work in the first place, but you also need to feel confident about bringing it to the market place. If you have a feeling that there are too many stumbling blocks in your career and creativity, you may need a re-assessment. The following suggestions may help.
Confidence develops the longer that you work. Be aware there are no instant or quick solutions to building confidence as an artist. Mostly there’s a tendency to be overly tentative when creating work in the studio, which can also lead to overworking. This is a mistake and it can get in the way of creativity. To be honest, there are no shortcuts. You will see that the more you work, the more you’re committed in your studio to the creation of new artworks, the more these works will take on a life of their own. And as a natural offshoot you will want to put that work out there by marketing it in the best way possible. You might think that this is overconfidence but it’s not. It’s the next step in your career.
One thing you do need to remember is that the level of competition is extremely high. What is written here is not only about the competition level when it comes to artists marketing artwork and selling artwork successfully. This is about about the level of competition that is out there with the quality of work being produced.
The high level of quality that is available in the art world doesn’t happen by itself. It happens because each of those individual artists is committed to their work. They work hard in each of their respective areas and over time develop instinctive and intuitive qualities in their work that make it stand out. As such, you can never find a simple formula for building confidence in your artwork. You can be aware of being too careful in your approach.
Are you able to walk into your studio and be bold with statements that you make with your work?
Or is it completely tentative experience from the beginning to the finish? This is definitely going to show in the end quality of your work and if it is coming across as being overly tentative or timid for example, it will be dismissed as such.
In the creative process, it’s important to be attentive to process orientation when you work. It’s important to notice the mistakes that happen. You can learn from these mistakes. Sometimes the best breakthroughs in your studio activity happen through these accidents. Bring the microscope to these moments and you might find that you’ve had a major insight into your work and that the confidence that you are looking for is suddenly there. Unless you take a certain amount of risk in your art making process, you won’t be able to learn that sometimes artworks can go in a whole new positive and unexpected direction by adding new colors or new compositions or even completely new materials rather than sticking by the same old processes of working and being repetitive. All of this can be the result of an artistic accident in the studio. It is not only good to be alert to these possibilities, but essential to also value them and use them when they happen.
This can be pretty scary for somebody at the beginning of their career. Often these people prefer to find a safe place in the way that they create, almost wanting to believe that there’s some kind of tried and true formula to ensure their success. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s important for both students and artists at the beginning of their career, apart from their ongoing practice in the studio, to study whatever processes they need to improve and gain mastery over that way of working. You can look up on the Internet for any process that you’re interested in learning about. This may lead you to either doing a course, buying a book, buying a DVD or CD, etc. All of these aids can help you to gain confidence. At the same time its easy to remember the times in life where there’s been a real fear of putting pencil to paper or paint to canvas. It’s not uncommon, such as a time when in the lead up to a major exhibition, after stretching and priming twelve large Belgian linen canvasses and a series of works on paper.
The studio looked impressive, but there was suddenly a leap into a deep sense of shock. There was no room to move in there. There was an inability to begin work; because of spending so much time meticulously preparing the linen, – coating it with layer upon layer of gesso which somehow alienated the creator from the core processes that was being involved in with the art practice at the time. It was solved by turning away from all the white surfaces, and making a re-acquaintance with the last few completed canvasses and thus began work on some quick studies on unprimed paper on the floor and the work began again naturally.
It’s important to go easy on yourself. Give yourself some slack while at the same time be conscious of what is happening to you in these moments. The inner critic can be a real kill-joy. But it is important especially in the early stages as an artist, to allow yourself to fully explore all different types of styles. Let yourself paint like a child or draw like a child. Even let yourself create like an adolescent knowing you are an adult. As Picasso once so famously said: “It took three years to learn to draw like Raphael and the rest of my life to learn to draw like a child”
Being involved in public art projects for example; there is usually a time during the process when there is a need to think like a teenager, an adolescent who is for whatever reason hell-bent on vandalising that particular sculpture or artwork. This is done so that there can be a way to head them off at the pass so to speak. In doing so it becomes possible to safeguard the work to a large degree by thinking ahead and designing and protecting the work so that any potential vandalism can be kept to a minimum. Let yourself make lots and lots of mistakes and once again learn from the accidents that are inherent in these mistakes. They could be the things that separate you from the mediocre. So you have to be pretty aware of how much you criticize yourself.
You can stifle your creativity to the point where you can spend days sitting in your studio in front of a series of beautifully prepared works on paper or stretched canvases, pristine with their white gesso freshly applied, while you scratch your head in complete frustration not knowing where to start.
If this is happening to you, It is suggested to do the following: Get some sheets of cardboard, put them on the floor and give them a couple of quick coats of gesso or any other primer and start going to work. Either start drawing on them all, begin to put washes of paint down and develop up some kind of surface.
It’s always good to remember why you became an artist in the first place, or why you wanted to study art and to remember to have fun in the process of making your art this will help you to stay fresh. Just begin somewhere and see where it goes. Some of the problem originates with how tedious you become with the preparation of the surface upon which you are going to work.
This can lead to you becoming petrified to mark the surface, because freshly stretched canvas properly primed is not inexpensive. The same goes with good quality drawing paper. A good example of stretching your abilities as an artist can be found by experiencing what is known as ‘Dynamic’ life drawing classes. In these classes, the students are asked to begin to draw for a certain amount of time a still life arrangement that is have set up the centre of the room.
After half an hour or so, more is added, an item, then again later another item, etc. until the finished still life barely looks anything like what it had started like.
At this point they usually have a break, everybody is usually happy with what they have created, and then we go back and then these objects are taken away again systematically, so that by the end of the class, which may go on for a couple of hours or so, there is left standing the original still life composition, which may have been a bowl or a vase.
The above drawing exercise has proven to be one of the most transformative processes that students can go through. It aids them to let go of preciousness.
These exercises helps students to go with the creative flow and opens them up to other possibilities like abstraction for example, when they follow this exercise. Of course some students are confronted with their own limitations. Major risk-taking can bring about tremendous positive shifts in your creativity.
It can throw up new results and can teach you to not be so tentative and careful. So bare this in mind in your journey as an artist.
There is no doubt that by following some of the above outlined suggestions, it will help you to find your way towards more confidence and everybody’s way is entirely unique. These suggestions will help you to find the ability in your work that is necessary for you to have the courage go on to want to market your work.
This takes a tremendous amount of confidence. It doesn’t mean that you need to be arrogant or egotistical. It means that you must be at a point inside yourself where you feel confident that what you are doing is worthy to be presented out there in the world alongside the work of your peers. To be honest, a gallery director interviewing a potential artist is much more likely to show interest when they feel that that artist has passion for his or her work.
Enthusiasm and passion can only come about through your totality and experimentation. It is infectious and will become the best marketing tool that you have at your disposal.