Friday, December 14, 2007

Bravery and the art of being an artist

2008 is quite close on the horizon now. How is the new year going to unfold artistically for you? Will you simply repeat 2007? Do you prefer to let the year unfold organically, or perhaps you have an over zealous plan that leaves you overwhelmed before the new year has even started? Today, I would simply like to encourage you to be brave in your artistic life in 2008. Before you leave here thinking I am about to dispense some self help nuggets... hear me out.

You are already brave by simply calling yourself an artist. Ask yourself how brave you are currently being in your artistic life? Is there room for improvement? Here are some ideas or questions to get you thinking of ways to be more brave and get your art career rolling in 2008.

First, are you taking any creative risks with your work or are you producing the same ol' thing again and again? Ask yourself if your work still strikes a chord within; if it does, keep doing what is working for you; if it doesn't, ask yourself what changes you could make that would get you excited again. Have you submitted any work to an art journal or magazine, or an online gallery such as Saatchi gallery online, popexperiment, myartspace, or juxtapoz magazine?

Have you done anything bold to promote your art on myspace, facebook, or joined an online art forum? Have you submitted your work to a jurried competition in your area?

Have you visited any new galleries to see if your style of work might fit in the mix, and then asked about the submission process?

When you find yourself in a creative rut, do you try something new, ask for help or trade critiques with another artist you know?

If you are art rich and cash poor, have you tried to trade your work for services or other art?
If your supplies are running low, have you tried budget supplies or asked to see if anyone has any extra materials that they are not using?

Have you approached an artist you admire for any help or mentoring? Have you started working on creating a free art portfolio or web presence? Have you started a blog about your art?

Many of the opportunities that have come up in my career were caused by spontaneous acts of bravery. When you get those wild outlandish, positive "what if" ideas in your head, go for it in 2008. Email that artist, call that gallery, make that trade, enter that show, comment on that blog you lurk on, take that class, quit your job (within reason- please have some plan), ask stupid questions to other professionals and just go for it.

Make 2008 the brave year, the year you really went for it. The year it all came together.
This is a challenge.... Leave me a comment about one thing you have been thinking of pursuing for your art career or artistic life that alluded you in 2007 that you are really going for this year.

We can do this!

Pictured Above:

What Went Before
Megan Chapman
Mixed Media on Canvas
available at the ddp gallery


  1. To get you started...

    I am going to submit my work to a juried publication that I always get rejected by and hope for the best this year...

    I am going to submit my work to at least 2 new galleries this year.

    Your turn...

  2. Thanks for this post!

    I'm working on my second poetry manuscript and my brave thing will be to begin submitting that for publication, hopefully by the middle of the year.

  3. Oh, Megan, you asked some really good questions! I don't know why being a painter takes bravery, probably because I'm such a coward at leaping and hoping a net will appear. I have avoided becoming a professional and finally I am in a really great gallery so this year I am going for publicity, not that I want it, I would rather be painting and I am naturally shy but an artist absolutely has to have it to sell work. Ok, I've written it out loud, I'm committed! Thanks for such a great post!

  4. I like your take on it. Rather than referring to it as "take a risk", you call it bravery. I like that better! It's not as scary. Wonderful, thought provoking, inspiring ideas. :)

    Your painting is beautiful. The color reminds me of my Grandmother and the patina brass objects that were in her garden.

    Best wishes for 2008. :)
    Julie (puffluna)