With apologies to Stephen R. Covey, here are my 7 habits for highly effective artists.
1. Make a plan for your success and stay focused. Review your goals once a month. Keep your curriculum vitae, artist statement, biography, website, portfolio and other support materials up-to-date.
2. Be disciplined about your creative endeavors. Get into the studio early and make a practice of working regular hours. Create an inspiring workspace. Keep your studio organized and ready for the next day so you look forward to coming into work. Be productive. Georgia O’Keefe said that serious artists always have three shows painted and ready to go. The point is, if you have enough inventory you’ll always be able to take advantage of any opportunities that arise.
3. Build business relationships by meeting new people and staying connected. Follow up and follow through. You never know who might be a collector, a supplier or a promoter. Don’t forget to thank collectors and people who help you or take time to find out about your work. Keep postcards with images of your work to use as thank you cards. Remember that the best business relationships are personal.
4. Learn to love the business of art. Devote time each day to marketing yourself and your work. Art is a business like any other business. And marketing is everything– from the way you dress and speak, to your print materials and website/blog. First, get to know your target market and try to figure out how to stand out. Build a mailing list. Inform the people in your database about all events in which you are involved, including new work and exhibitions. Alyson Stanfield’s Artbizblog.com is a great resource to learn more about the business of art..
5. Keep informed about what’s going on in the world of art. Attend local galleries. Read, talk and write about art. Get to know the important collectors, gallery owners, museum directors and curators, arts critics and writers. It’s also important to explore outside the studio. Traveling is a great way to infuse new energy into your work. When you travel, explore and learn about the art of that culture.
6. Donate your art. Yes, we’re all trying to make mount with our work. But donating art is a great way to get your art out into the community-at-large when you are just starting out. I’s also a good way to build your curriculum vitae and make important contacts, as long as you’re selective.
7. Take risks. If it scares the c**p out of you, you’re onto something. Follow where that leads you and see what happens.
“I am your constant companion. I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden. I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command. Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me, and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few lessons I will do it automatically. I am the servant of all great men. And, alas, of all failures as well. Those who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine. Plus, the intelligence of a man. You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin; it makes no difference to me. Take me, train me, be firm with me and I will put the world at your feet. Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I? I am a habit.”
–John Di Lemme