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Valery Satterwhite : How to Create More Business Creatively

How to Create More Business Creatively

By Valery Satterwhite

Most artists long for public recognition as a relevant, if not important, influence in their chosen medium. They long for the day when they can focus solely on their art and have the resources to let others focus on the marketing and selling of that art. While that's a lovely vision to paint for your life as an artist it comes with a Catch-22. Unless you were born with, inherited or married wealth, most artists struggle month to month to be able to keep the lights on and buy more paint let alone hire staff, agents, marketers, curators, and others to do the perceived non-art activities of daily life and business. Moreover, many artists shy away from or are even repulsed by the business side of being a successful artist.

Why is that?

Is there a fundamental internal belief that business is not art and if you are a person who is good at business then you are less of an artist? Does devoting time to your business instead of your project make you less than a devoted, dedicated mistress to your art? Is putting a dollar value on your work limiting or inhibiting your free expression in any way? And then, of course, there's the shadow of rejection that lurks in the hallways of promotion.

Not a pretty picture, eh?

Well, that is certainly one lens to look through when interpreting the business side of art. I'll bet that lens is not getting the results you'd like to see as your experience as an artist, is it? Why, then, do you keep looking at the business of art through that same lens over and over again? What would happen if you got a new lens? What if you looked at the business of being an artist in a new way?

Creating a successful career as an artist of any kind is — an art! Artists are masterful in creating art that is beyond the conscious ability of the masses. Those of us who do not consider ourselves as artists marvel with awe, wonderment and emotions of every kind at the expressions and experiences that can be created with paint, clay, metal, computer graphics, musical instruments, the body through dance, the voice, acting, the pencil and every other tool under the sun. If artists are so masterful why, then, aren't all artists successful beyond their wildest imaginations? Creating is their birthright, after all!

Creating is everyone's birthright. It is not limited to one expression or another. Art or business. Sport or academic, and so forth. When you embarked upon a career as an artist you did not sign-up for a lifetime of anxiety, despair, poverty and rejection. You enrolled in a lifetime of creative artistic expression. However, you forgot to include producing a business to support that desire as one of your creations. What would happen if you approached your business as just yet another piece of work? How do you approach a new project? Do you have some outcome in mind? Or, do you just decide to play with your chosen materials to see what intuitively and inspirationally evolves? And how do you behave, what choices do you make, during this journey?

As an artist, look at your business as one of your most treasured and personal creations. Use the same processes to approach your business as you do when you create an art work that fully expresses, or comes close to expressing, that which you desire to bring forth into existence. What do you do to inspire the muse within when stuck artistically? Use the same techniques to un-stick yourself artistically to get out of your business rut. Instead of doing the same business strategies and tactics, or lack thereof, that aren't working for you switch to a whole new way of viewing what's possible for you to create as your business. Pick up different tools than you've been using to create your business.

If you are not enjoying success as an artist then I suggest that you're using a lens that doesn't focus upon what is possible. Instead it focuses upon what is not possible. I'll bet that you can name artist after artist after artist after artist who is also not making it as an artist. This is all you can see because this is the lens you are viewing your opportunity through. This is the lens called "You'll never make a living as an artist." Using this lens is the same as trying to get to a destination by swimming upstream against heavy rapids. If this is the case, stop swimming! Go with the flow instead of against it. Focus upon the artists who are making it. There are plenty. If they can make it, so can you. What tools are they using to create their business as an artist that you are not? One tool they are using is the belief that they can, indeed, make a living as an artist.

See business as just another piece of work that you get to create. Are you intimidated when you begin a new art project? If not, then why be intimidated when you create your business? If what you're doing to build your business isn't working, resist banishing yourself from ever attempting to create it again. You wouldn't do that as a painter, would you? You'd paint over the 'not working' part, try a new approach or start over. You wouldn't quit being a painter because the piece wasn't working out the way you wanted it to. Being a painter is who you are. You can paint over what isn't working in your business with new paint, new marketing approaches, new contacts, new works. There are an abundance of tools from which to choose from as you master the art of creating business. The effort will deliver back to you in spades in the resources it provides for you to continue to do more of what you love to do.

The only person standing between your career as an artist and where you would like it to go is — you. Learn how to mindfully get out of your own way with your attitudes and beliefs about the business end of art. Approach your business with the same commitment you have when you approach any new inspired creation — and let it flow with the intuitive and inspired stream of possibilities from there. •

© 2009 Valery Satterwhite. All Rights Reserved.

Valery SatterwhiteValery will teach you how to Moxie Up! Her definition: The confident courage to achieve authentic greatness with unrelenting drive and passion. Claim your truth, own your power and command your stage. More »

3/28/09