With all of this rethinking, I am rethinking my business model. I have to. Or I will go out of business.
I grew up poor. I grew up on food stamps and lived in HUD housing in the 70s and 80s. I began working when I was in the 4th grade, delivering newspapers. And I had jobs all through high school and college. I put myself through college while completely supporting myself. I was emancipated when I was 18. And yet, art was for me. A poor member of our society. I have maintained that art is for the everyone. I have wanted to keep my work priced at a price point that would allow children to grow up with real art in their home. I believe that everyone would benefit from having original art in their home. As much as I still believe that, the problem is that I can’t survive with that model. I can’t provide for my own children.
So, what do I do? As I pondered this, I almost “gave up” and went looking for a “real” job. I have 3 children who need to eat and do things; and we need a car and a home. The problem is that creating art is what I do. It is my gift and my talent. I know that. I believe it. When you are going through the steps of finding a job, you are asked over and over “what are your strengths?”, “what are your talents?”. All this leads me back to being an artist. What I have concluded, for now, is that giving up on it means not sharing my true self with the world.
So I have realized that instead of throwing in the towel on the idea of making a living with creating my art, I need to go about it differently. I haven’t figured the whole thing out yet, but I am spending more of my time learning about business. I am identifying my needs and wants as well. I am feeling hopeful again that I can make this work. I am realizing that I have been listening to “the experts” instead of myself. I have been buying into an idea of how to do this even when it doesn’t make sense to me and it isn’t working for me!
This idea that I am selling emotion is helpful. I am honing in more on what my mission is. I have never thought of my art has having a mission. It is funneling my energies and helping me focus. It is helping me find my target audience – aka buyers. I need them. That is a reality. Without them, I cannot afford to continue to create the way that I do and so nobody would benefit from my work and nobody will have my art in their life. This is a little hard for me to accept. I still believe everyone should have original art in their home. I believe it adds a richness to your life. It’s akin to listening to live music vs recordings. There is just something extra that comes with live music. An energy. It is an experience that touches our souls. Same with dance or theater. Or even going to a football game instead of watching it on tv. These are all tangible experiences which add value to our lives.
I am going to fight on and continue to figure this out. And find out if I have what it takes.