15 Things I’ve Learned as an Artist

I’ve weathered every economic high & low, my sales and reputation remain strong. Given my circumstances the prices have been on the rise for physical works, and those collectors never part with the work. So, I’d say my art is a good investment. 

There are times I get the loaded question of, “How did you get where you are?” So I put together the things I’ve learned as a working artist for most of my life:

  • Hone a technique, a style, an idea. It’s the very least you can do.
  • Don’t be lazy just because you want to move-on to the next thing. Make adjustments and fine tune, perhaps more than is necessary.
  • When using reference from life or static image, you need to look, and I mean really look. And look again. And really look this time. I said look, look, and look again. 
  • Don’t make copying from photos your main resource. It can be almost deadly to do this long-term. Use real-life here and there, and practice. 
  • And don’t copy other artists work passing it off as your own. If you think no one will notice, you are wrong. Visual memory is a powerful thing and someone will always notice, and will lose respect for you forever. 
  • If you think you got it right on the first go, you are probably wrong. 
  • Teacher always said, “Don’t turn in sloppy work”. The viewer can tell when you didn’t give it proper time and attention. 
  • There will always be trends; your work might catch-on with a trend, or be too early, or too late. But don’t ever change to catch a trend. They are cyclical, after all.
  • Aim for quality when finishing a piece. Be it the best varnish or best resolution. It’s all about craftsmanship isn’t it? 
  • If you don’t take it seriously, why should anyone? Honor your obligations, be on-time, don’t wait until the last minute, be realistic, get your shit together. This is where the differences happen between those who “make it” and those who don’t.
  • Don’t take any guff. People think they can push artists around, waste their time, not pay them, use work without permission and so on. I’m here to tell you that yes you can burn bridges, yes you can make it a big deal, yes you can broadcast to others. 
  • If someone has the gall to tell you your prices are too high, tell them to get bent. Or, laugh and tell them only a poor person would say that. 
  • Don’t ever discount the youth, because they will grow-up loving and knowing your work. 
  • Allow time to get weird. A constant stream of work for hire can stretch your skills, but you need time to explore and experiment. 
  • Not everyone will like your work and that’s their business. Get used to a lot of rejection; from galleries, art fairs, grants, publications, and especially non-profits. It might feel personal, but it isn’t.
  • You still must try and look for opportunities, because out of 10 rejections you will be accepted once or twice if lucky. Apply for anything and everything, but expect nothing. 

Well kids. There’s a lot of new work I have created, if you are looking for gifts for yourself, I highly recommend the open edition prints, and hoodies. These are all new digital paintings I’m so happy with!

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