This Post is by Daniel J. Keys, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
There are ten things that I feel are the basis to having a successful art career today. Whether you're already a full time artist and are looking for the information you'll need to take your art to a new echelon, or are just starting out and wanting to see if you've got what it takes to be a success in this business, I hope that you'll find these ten steps useful and inspiring while aiding you along the way.
Step 1. Have a sense of destiny
As artists, there comes a time when we reach a point of realization in our lives, and comprehend that we're more than just hobbyists having a good time doing what we love to: We're people that have dedicated ours lives to be a part of something greater than ourselves; enriching the lives of all cultures and societies; giving a sense of clarity and understanding; stirring a sense of curiosity towards the world around us in everyone who takes the time to identify with our art.
Step 2. Set definite goals
Know exactly what it is that you're after in your career as an artist. Don't leave any room for guessing.
Step 3. Make your goals balanced and reasonable
If you've averaged thirty completed paintings a year, for the past five years, then you probably won't reach a total of seventy -five this year just by setting a goal. It's okay to push yourself to the next level, but be reasonable and set goals that are just beyond where you are now. Don't try to jump to point "z" all the way from point "a": Take it one step at a time.
Step 4. Have Discipline
Laziness is our greatest enemy; if we let it rule our lives, we'll become unproductive, and sadly remain stagnate; or worse, we'll begin to slip backward undoing everything that we've worked for.
Step 5. Stay hungry for success
As stated in my last article: The proof of your hunger for success is your focus. Remain focused on the goals that you've set for your art, and business; do whatever it takes: If it means writing them down and posting them to your bathroom mirror just so that you'll see them more frequently (and thus keep them in the forefront of your thinking) so be it.
Step 6. Pursue quality people in your life
I seem to speak of this quite often. It's vitally important that you develop good relationships with those who will assist you in achieving your dreams. Avoid those that do nothing more than bring you down, or try to talk you out of the decisions you've made in your career.
I recently had the extraordinary privilege of sitting down with the master artist I admire most, Richard Schmid. Just being around him stirred my passion to improve and grow in my art. Spending time with quality people will do that for you too.
Step 7. Invest in yourself
I must sound like a broken record by know, but the best way to invest in ourselves isn't by going to the spa, or purchasing that new shirt we saw at Macy's yesterday. I know that those things can help to boost our happiness, but if we'd like something a bit more beneficial in the long run, especially where our careers as artists are concerned, we must educate ourselves: Buying books, DVD's, magazines, taking workshops, and visiting galleries and museums, all help to improve our ability to produce good art.
Investing in the development of our business sense, also done by reading books and watching DVD's on the subject, will help us remain in a constant state of learning where marketing is concerned as well.
Step 8. Make every minute count
Be organized. Know what's ahead of you and prepare for it. For instance: I know that when starting a new still life painting, it'll take at least thirty minutes for me to set things up, so I wake up a bit earlier than I normally do each day. By doing this I can still spend the usual time that I like to in my studio, and feel less rushed to finish the piece.
Step 9. Be teachable
Don't become the old dog that can't be taught new tricks. Being stuck in a rut can be more than boring, it can be hazardous to your art and occupation. Always be willing to learn; whether from teachers, peers, or life itself. Pay attention to what's going on around you, and look for opportunities to be challenged in your thinking. That's how we grow.
Step 10. Fight for excellence
Never settle. Your art, and your career, needs to be up to your own standards; don't let anyone talk you out of what you desire for your art, and your life.
Take the time to implement some of these steps in your day, and things will begin to take a turn for the better. It's all about priorities, and paying attention; don't let today slip by without being as productive as you know you can be.
-Daniel J. Keys