3 Steps to Artistic Utopia
I tend to see several patterns over the years. Not to place anyone into some category of predictable behaviors but I would like to point out that I have noticed these patterns. I have also developed some awareness of how to help when problems pop up.
Artists, buyers of art, and various kinds of organizations have trouble knowing what to do when it comes to this area of their lives:
Step one, artists:
I will start here because I’m most familiar with this step. Artists all seem to have some of the same types of questions. It all seems to stem from a lack of clarity in what to do. This may apply to some or all of the following. Maybe you aren’t sure how to go about the business side of things, aren’t sure exactly what kind of art to make (being that many of you are capable of multiple disciplines), unsure about your audiences desires or even where they tend to shop, or – join the club – you’re just unsure about your own value. These are general issues and sure more specific to your own situations the circumstances vary. There are quite a few ways to handle all of these things and I am sure this is a big component of why we tend to feel overwhelmed.
Here are the building blocks to begin tackling these things. You are very valuable!! Try your best to abandon fear by being as prolific as possible. Make as much work as you can. Practice practice practice. Begin thinking about a plan.
Planning looks like this: Ask the questions that begin with “What, Why, and Who” first. What am I? What excites me? Why am I doing this? What is my purpose?” Once you begin this then you can begin to define your intent, meaning What do you do, why do you do it, and who do you do it for?
Next, you can start digging into the objectives. Asking questions like “how?” for the answers to all your above questions. “How can I be what I want, how can I express why I do something, and how can I find more of the people who I want to serve?” This approach is a very very simple version of a business strategy. This leads to marketing plans and pricing tactics, studio time, etc. This approach has harmony and helps you avoid only shotgunning everything you do. Contact us if you want to hire us to assist with your professional improvement.
Step two, buyers of art:
This tends to be individuals. Even when it’s a big company we are still usually working with one or 2 people who will make the final decisions about these matters. We commonly see some stressing things for this group as well. Most of the time it’s lack of clarity on a project. Stress over making the right choice, prices, sizes, will it fit, what if we don’t like it, color confusion, and a whole heap of things that might make you feel overwhelmed. I believe we have found some sound guidelines to help here as well over the past 15 years.
In my opinion, finding good relationships is one key factor. This is where it all starts. If you are a true do-it-yourselfer then finding the right people to execute your vision with a standard of quality is essential. If you aren’t sure when connecting with people who can dig into objectives with you and help use their vision, know-how, and experience to formulate a unique plan for you is who you need. This can take some time, but putting your energy in exploring this very thing will save you a lot of energy on the back end of any projects. Especially if you are working in conditions where you will have multiple projects.
Answering who to work with will no doubt set you up to answer nearly every other question that comes along. So start there.
Step three, organizations:
I have worked with so many organizations regarding art matters. I don’t want to sound like I’m coming down hard on you guys but this is one area with real power to change lives. I feel this should be taken very seriously. If you work for a company or organization wanting to do something for the arts or support art-based endeavors then I cannot stress enough to involve them in what you do.
I feel like the bottom line is often the most critical thing when it comes to art, decor, and art events. In other words “how much is it going to cost and how are we going to pay for it?” As a business owner, I truly understand this. But I would like to present an alternative question. How will this impact my community? Who’s lives can we change? and what message can we let art provide (be it for the organization or for the community)? Art truly enriches our lives in ways we might not be able to quantify with dollars. Getting entangled with this notion that promoting a robust creative environment will spread like weather and lead to so many positive benefits and stimulation for you. This is, on the front end, a seeming passive kind of power but if incubated leads to all the right conditions.
So if you or someone close to you work for an organization with any kind of interest in an art-based event, decor opportunities, or simply wish to support art initiates in the community, then suggest they find the community leaders within the arts with a passion to help make a difference. In many cases, these kinds of individuals may belong to other art-based organizations that might already be plugged into a vast resource of makers and artisans who are lined up ready willing and able to create something special. Letting them be involved in the ground level of planning can really make a difference too.
There are certainly conditions where these suggestions may need modification. On the whole, if we can try to influence our boards and executives that it is important to consider how this impacts our community and the meaning of the dollars spent, then the true power of larger organizations can really harmonize with the lives they should serve.