H ow many times have we sat in front of a blank canvas or empty piece of paper and stalled?
Everyone sort of ‘gets’ that being and artist carries a pre-supposition that we’re a little more open to life and it’s experiences, but I’ve found that this is almost a myth…even the artists today are running ‘round on their treadmills.
Not only will your art get better by living big, but so will your business.
Let’s look at writer’s block by way of comparison. If a writer is struggling, it’s because he’s sat himself down at a blank sheet of paper (or word doc) and can’t get past “Once upon a time…”
He’s got nothin’…and now he’s got guilt and stress and pressure because of it.
And tomorrow’s going to be the same…”Hmm…better have a drink…”
A fast Course on Beating A Creative or Marketing Slump
Go do something.
Go for a walk, go on a trip, go watch people at a mall or train station or barbershop, or a busy hotel lobby.
I guarantee that I you break your sad old routine for two or three days you’ll find a year’s worth of inspiration – if you’ll be open to it.
I get asked all the time “How do you find things to draw? What’s your inspiration?”
Inspiration is a little bit like Christmas shopping for your Mother-in-law. It instills panic. There’s a definite penalty for getting it ‘wrong’. She doesn’t seem to like anything, and lets you know it through passive aggressive means or even outright warfare.
I kid, but even though you may have a vague sort of idea what she likes, you have a more concrete list of things that wouldn’t work, but really you’ve still got nothing.
So what do you do? You’ve got to go out in the big wide world (a mall) and start poking around. If you keep a relatively open mind, you always find something. It’s not always perfect, but like presents, art isn’t about perfection – it’s the thought that counts.
Inspiration is an active process, it doesn’t seek YOU out; you’ve got to go get it.
Business is very much the same way.
All of the big breakthroughs in any industry inevitably come from outside the industry.
FedEx’s system of hub and spoke distribution came from modeling the system banks use to clear checks.
Sir Paul McCartney changed the whole world by taking what he heard Little Richard doing and sprinkling it with some of the Baroque stuff he heard grandma playing in the living room when he was a kid.
The entire VHS, DVD, internet streaming online video, and home movie phenomenon owes pretty much its entire existence to the porn industry. (Egad. All those Disney DVDs that are sold every year…)
For ideas to be unique and revolutionary, you have to get away from the same old stuff that’s been going on in your little corner of the world.
As you probably know, I have a couple of niche markets that I serve in the vintage oil rig and vintage golf markets; my pencil art lends itself to that nostalgic, old fashioned photography. I didn’t come up with that out of thin air; I got it from watching a show on Discovery’s ‘Shark Week’. They were showing some old photos of the small town in New Jersey whose shark attacks at the turn of the 20th century inspired “Jaws” and it hit me “Y’know…those’d make awesome drawings!”
And how many old, black and white drawings had I seen before that point? Hundreds, if not thousands.
For whatever reason, it clicked and by being open to this kind of thing as a way of life, and rolling up my sleeves and getting to work on it has created more income, wealth, piece of mind, security and artistic reward than anything I’d seen previously…it’s STILL a mainstay of my career.
This is another excellent reason to reduce undue influence by whatever local art community you associate with. If you sincerely like them and enjoy their company then take them out for dinner, but as far as career advice?
Virtually NONE of the Big Concepts that I’ve developed in my business has come from other artists.
Why? Because MOST other artists:
- Are terrified at the prospect of salesmanship
- Are stuck on the ‘selling through galleries’ method of distribution
- Don’t sell on monthly auto ship
- Don’t have membership programs
- Don’t send out monthly newsletters
- Don’t have their own premium line of framing
- Tend not to have standardized pricing and sizes
- Would rather stand around talking to other artists instead of meeting new clients
- Go to poorly developed art shows and wouldn’t think of doing trade shows instead
- Wouldn’t think of limiting the number of clients they accept
- Don’t even maintain a list of customers and prospects
None of these ideas came to me as a stroke of lightning out of the blue in the middle of the night.
They came to me because I was out in the Big Wide World…watching…
Be open to things Grasshopper…!
And you could begin exercising this new philosophy by checking out The Fast Start Art Marketing Primer! 🙂
Check out the Fast Start Art Marketing Primer!
“Just a note to say thanks to Owen for his courses. It has already changed my whole concept of marketing my work and makes me actually feel in control of my future. Thanks Owen!”
“I’ve gotten great value out of this course. It really speaks to the artist in a no B.S. way that clears the mental clutter, and gets you to pay attention to what you really need to get the ball rolling.”
San Clemente, CA
“It was light-hearted, it had charm and humour and kept me engaged the whole time! I loved it!”
“The first or second lesson got my money back in multiples already. So brilliant…you shook me!”
“Owen’s course literally saved me from a slippery path that I would probably have never recovered from.”