Since I turned 42 today, I figure I would reflect on seven lessons I have learned of the art world so far. There are many more but here are seven favorite ones. You may or may not agree with me but it does not matter. This is more for me as a mental practice than it may be for you to agree.
1. The art world is big enough for everybody.
Yes, the art world is very competitive and there are a lot of artists. However, I believe we all fit somewhere. For that reason, I have learned not to be disappointed if some things don’t work out for me. There will always be other opportunities in the art world, other shows, other galleries, other collectors, etc.
2. No one owns the path to success.
What works for one artist, does not necessarily works for everybody. I believe no one owns the path to a successful art career. Therefore, nobody can sell it. Yes, there are principles to know and rules the art world plays by that you should understand. However, we live in an age of accessibility of information. Knowing where and how to find it makes a big difference. When I opened my art gallery with three other friends, we had no clue what to do. Nine years later, I have figure out my own system. I believe mentors are the best resource for every area of your creative life. Sometimes, all you need to do is ask.
3. There is no excuse for mediocrity.
Whether curating a show, preparing for a show, making art, framing the work, marketing the work, etc, one should always try the best. Sometimes, I see a great work with a lousy presentation. I have received works for exhibition where it’s obvious the artist took the picture frame from the living room and tried to fit a work that is not meant to fit that size of frame. This has taken me years to learn but now I know, mediocrity is a path to nowhere. I don’t want to be known as the guy who does things half way good.
4. Sometimes you hit the target, sometimes you don’t.
I have learned that sometimes a great idea goes very high and sometimes it hits a wall. At either case, it’s a matter of accepting the reality and moving on.
5. Network is king.
Being part of a network of people you know and respect is a must in my art career. Showing up to other people’s events, whenever possible, is also a great way to increase the network. Who you know opens the opportunities to other good things. Sometimes a simple conversation has been the anchor for a bigger project. Social media by itself is not good enough. Get off the computer and show up.
6. Respect to be respected.
One simple lessons that I learned from my parents was to be respectful. In the art world, it has served me well. I do not agree with every artist or their work. However, I respect what they do regardless if I like it or not. Everyone has an opinion and a way of making art. Some, I find interesting, others I don’t but that does not mean I will disrespect their practice. I have blocked some of my Facebook friends for commenting insults on some of the photos of other artists works I have posted on my wall. It’s easy to bash someone from miles away. Anyway, I don’t need art-gods-wannabes as friends. lol
7. It’s never too late or too early to give back.
A little over a year ago my wife and I decided that we are not going to wait to be rich to give back. First, because we may never be rich and second because as time goes by, we will have less energy. So we started 3c Wear. A company that collaborates with professional artists to sell Tshirts and give school supplies to local children in need. Getting it off the ground has been very hard and very time consuming. However, it has been one of the best things we have done. Without school supplies, children can’t learn the way they should. In a country like ours, no kid should go to school without color pencils, crayons, scissors, etc. We can all find a big or small way to give back from where we currently stand.
So there they are, Seven lessons I have learned so far….
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