Circle the Wagons, Take the Plunge

Are there moments when a career in art feels like an insurmountable achievement? Do you find yourself reeling from the sheer process of putting all the pieces in place, as though you have been asked to spin a dozen plates at one time?

You are not alone.

Let me repeat and rephrase that. You are not alone. Don’t do this alone.

The well known adage “it takes a village” applies to bringing up children, something that can rarely if ever be done without the support of others. A community garden is only as strong as the number of community members who turn out to till the soil, sow the seeds, and pull the weeds. Even a corporation cannot run if there are not teams to support every aspect.

Your art career is like this. You cannot expect it to operate smoothly within a total vacuum. Reaching out and networking with others, attending events, taking leaps to make important connections, these are the ways you begin to build your village. Without a network of support and connections you will find it more difficult to take your career to the next level.

Taking those initial steps can be very intimidating. It’s important not to take on too much at once. Line up a few events over the course of a couple months, openings, art talks, gallery visits, and make a promise to yourself to attend. Bring a friend or partner if that helps you feel more comfortable. Just show up and make your way around the room.

During time you are not in the studio, do the work to locate galleries around you that would be suited to your art. Compile a list and begin the process of reaching out. Discover local patrons of the arts and larger sponsors, make a plan to contact them.

In this way you can see that your network begins to broaden. You will find colleagues and peers, gallerists showing interest in your work, and those that have the means and desire to sponsor your work.

If all this still sounds like a lot of work for questionable return, be sure to read through the posts in this blog. We regularly offer testimonials from students just like you who had the courage to take the first leap and found incredible results.

And when you are unsure exactly where to start, don’t feel alone. You surely aren’t! Praxis Center is here to help you launch your village. Our mission is to help artists make the connections they need to move their careers forward. We offer skills, expertise, self-paced instruction as well as one on one advice in our virtual classroom, and a community of peers and colleagues all working toward the same goal. $40 a month gets you access to all of this and much, much more. Don’t take it from us, read stories from our students and decide whether you’re ready to build your village starting now.

Ready to start? Click here to join today.

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. Brainard, what do you advise for artist burnout? I’ve been spinning the proverbial dozen plates all at once and have found myself stopped. I put most of the plates down. The over-the-top demands of being an artist, a highly sensitive individual trying to do everything to expand my career into a full-on business on top of the demands of other challenging aspects of life has even interfered with and slowed down my creative drive to almost a halt. Please advise? I really like being in the Praxis community and intend to stay in it, yet the over-drive I’ve been in again recently from all the great art business advice–more accurately put myself in–has taken its toll on my nervous system. My clarity has gone foggy. Suggestions? I’m certain you know about artist burnout from other artists and possibly can speak from your own experience. Thank so much, Kathleen

    • Hi Kathleen, yes, I would suggest taking a break altogether if possible. Give yourself a weekend off or at least a day off, and then, instead of pursuing “art” and “career” do something that is neither, but is still art. I would suggest getting cheap paper and cheap tempera finger paint and spend an hour a week just pushing paint around on paper. I know it may sound silly, but the idea is to get away from making “Art” and just enjoy visual images and the sensuality of paint. It will also feel relaxing, most likely and give you a slightly different perspective.

      • OMG Brainard, I loved your suggestions so much I laughed and can’t stop smiling, especially the finger painting part. Perfect, and this weekend coming up I’m going to take a couple days off and just play with nothing particular in mind, maybe go to the beach and dig in the sand. I love it, thank you! You are wise, kind, and a wonderful mentor. All love, Kathleen

  2. I found myself on this particular arena a few days ago. I found myself dreading going into my studio! A house guest suggested I take a complete break and visit Chaco Canyon, some very interesting ruins outsidecan Indian reservation here in New Mexico. There’s a campground there so I took an inflatable mattress, a cooler and a little stove. After that very enjoyable excursion, I went into town and bought a full size tent and took it to a national park campground in the Jemez mountains.
    I didn’t paint, I didn’t write, I rested, hiked, rested, enjoyed the small stream nearby, noticed every tree, every bird, and the glorious sounds of the wind.
    I came back full of energy and ready to paint again. My friends even remarked how refreshed I looked!
    I recommend communing with nature whenever you get discouraged or? I’ll go again soon.

  3. The title of this article uses the unfortunate phase, “circle the wagons,” which is offensive to many in the Am. Indian world. It brings up the images from old “western” movies & TV shows.

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