Every time I think about my art it fills me with wonder and joy. Well, not every time. Sometimes, it makes me cry or rage or fills me with sorrow or pain. AND that is good. Art is supposed to evoke feelings. But then there are times when art is devastating and I don’t mean the art itself or the making of art. I mean that sometimes I HATE art. Here are 10 times that I HATE art:
- Running out of art supplies
- Social Media
- Clean Up
- Being a scaredy cat
- Real life cutting into my art time
- “I can’t be an Artist, I can’t even draw a straight line”
- “You know, Art will never pay the bills. You should get a real job.”
- Digital versus Traditional debate
1. RUNNING OUT OF SUPPLIES
Have you ever had that time when you know you are down to that last piece of watercolor paper or canvas, that last tube of your favorite color of paint or you have sharpened your pencil for the last time? The bad part of this scenario is that you don’t know when you will have the money to buy art supplies again. It’s a terrible feeling and sometimes you can’t avoid it. I have been there. My only advice is to buy art supplies when you have the money and make sure that you have enough to cover the lean times. Don’t hoard them. Use them and then buy more. Buying art supplies is a perfectly good use of your money as long as you are using them.
Sometimes I sit is my art studio for days and the only person that I speak to is my roommate. I have to make an effort to speak with my sister, my mom or any of my other friends. Even the conversations with my roommate are superficial and usually about housework or schedules. I get all involved in my work and there’s no room for anything else. Has this ever happened to you? Do you have any outside interest? I don’t. I’m having to make some, even if some of those interest bisect my art. My current interest is Twitch where I can hang out with other creatives and get to know them. It’s a lot of fun.
Sales is the worst. Do you know anyone who wants to spend all their time convincing others to buy their product or service? I don’t know anyone and I don’t want to either. It’s scary and I always feel like I’m putting my heart on the line saying, “Here is my baby, my artwork. Do you want to buy it? It needs a good forever home.” When what I want to do is to hoard all the artwork away where no one will see it and no one will see all the heart and soul that I’m putting on display. It’s scary to show off your work to begin with, but then you have to sell it to. And you do have to sell it because you need to the money to buy more art supplies so that you can put your heart and soul on display again in another piece. It’s heart wrenching.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA
Social Media is something with which I have a love/hate relationship. I love it because I like the attention when someone likes my artwork. One after another of my images go up and like after like comes in with a couple of followers with them. Then down you go when someone unfollows or the piece you put everything into and is the best ever, doesn’t get as many likes as you think it should get. Or you get a bunch of likes on Instagram, but that little Twitter bird doesn’t chirp at you at all. It’s so overwhelming trying to figure out the algorithms for each of the social media platforms, sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. For the most part, I stick with the big ones: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I throw in Pinterest too since I am a visual artist. If you are a musician, I would pick a different fourth social media. BUT only pick 3-4 to try out. If you find that 3 is too many, try 1 at a time until you understand that one. Don’t overwhelm yourself.
Don’t you wish that there were little clean up fairies that would do all your house work for you? I wish the same for the cleanup stage of my artwork. I love making a mess and getting my hands dirty, but I hate having to clean up my work stations. I play with acrylic pouring and resin, both of which are very messy. The set up and clean up can take as long as the actual art time. This is one place where an assistant would be very helpful! But until I have an assistant, I have to do everything myself, even the cleaning… Argh!
6. BEING A SCAREDY CAT
Do you have this pit of fear in your stomach every time you go to start a new piece? Is that blank piece of paper or canvas intimidating? It is for me. Sometimes it’s so intimidating, I never start that piece because I’m so afraid that I’m going to mess up my expensive watercolor paper or canvas. It scares me into never starting the pieces of artwork at all. And it isn’t because I don’t know that I’m not a great artist, because I am. 90% of the time, I end up loving my artwork. The other 10%, I start over and make something else. I expect myself to be perfect and perfection is a goal where you can never measure up. Now, I have a mantra:
I live this goal and I still get scared, but I don’t let my fear compromise my art. Every day, I draw, paint or color something. It has become ingrained into the core of who I am. Some days it’s only for an hour. Some days, “ART DAYS”, it’s an all day thing. I love ART DAYS!
7. REAL LIFE CUTTING INTO MY ART TIME
Ugh, this is the worst! I hate real life sometimes. It stops me in my tracks. You have to do things like housework and eat food. You have to grocery shop and spend time with family and friends. And you are supposed to want to do these things. It’s a part of life, but it takes you away from your art and you suffer because you can’t art. I feel like this all the time. I have to remind myself, that time away from my art can refresh my mind and body so that I can come back to my art a better, more focused person. I can also use that time to gather inspiration. Take photos while you’re out of things that will spark ideas for your art – a pattern you see that would make a good background, a color that would work in your current painting or a landscape that could work in a world you are building. Use that time away from your studio instead of dreading that time away.
8. “I CAN’T BE AN ARTIST, I CAN’T EVEN DRAW A STRAIGHT LINE”
This is one of the two most frustrating lines I have ever heard in reference to art. I’ll get to the other one next. I’ll start talking to someone and it could be anyone, though usually it’s a friend or family member. Then sometime in the conversation I’ll say something like “I would love to show you how I make my art.” I’m not asking them to participate. I’m asking them to observe. Watch while I paint or pour or draw, so that they can understand more about what I’m talking about in future conversation. The next words out of their mouths, “I can’t be an artist, I can’t even draw a straight line.” I hate that phrase.
First, you don’t need to draw a straight line to be an artist. I rarely if ever draw a straight line. If I do, it is digitally and the program is making it straight for me. Second, say what you really mean, which is you have no desire to be an artist. Anyone can be an artist if you are willing to take the time and effort to learn the skills. Yes, there are some artists that have the raw talent, but you don’t need talent to be a good or great artist. You just need determination and the willingness to try. Oh, and time.
9. “YOU KNOW, ART WILL NEVER PAY THE BILLS. YOU SHOULD GET A REAL JOB.”
This is the second of the two most frustrating lines I have ever heard in reference to art. The fact of whether or not I can pay my bills with my artwork does not rest on what you or anyone else thinks of my artwork. Also, being an artist is a real job. Making money off of my artwork is as time-consuming as starting a business. If I went up to anyone and said that I was going to start a franchise business, most would think that was a pretty cool idea, but as soon as an artist starts talking about making money from their art, it becomes this big thing about being a “starving artist”. It’s not true, especially with the internet. More artist than ever are living off their art thanks to the internet. You need to know more about business and marketing than most artist know to do it.
10. DIGITAL VERSUS TRADITIONAL DEBATE
There’s a lot of debate over digital versus traditional artwork and which is better. Traditional artist say it’s better because you have a physical product you can sell at a higher price point and you can still sell prints or digital versions too. Digital artists say while that is true, not everyone can afford the high price of the physical product anyway. Digital artwork is a finished product in and of itself. You can sell the high quality of that digital artwork to the person who commissioned it and then, with permission, sell a lower quality digital downloads.
I don’t believe either side is wrong or right. I don’t think they are comparing apples to apples, but apples to oranges. I believe that you can be both a traditional and a digital artist and that both types offer a range of skills to learn and benefits to relish. Pick the mediums that excite you the most and learn them. Play with them. If they are traditional, YEAH! If they are digital! If, like me, they are both, YEAH!!!
10 things that I HATE about art that aren’t really about the art itself, but all the things that come with art. You always have the bad things that come with something you love. You learn to live with them and sometimes, like social media, you even embrace them. Somethings like people telling you to get a real job, you can work toward ignoring once you are able to pay your bills with your art if that is your goal, but what ever you do, remember:
At the end of the day, enjoy your art. Don’t try to make it perfect. Make it yours!