The Art of Independence

Freedom is something universally sought. Most of us don’t feel we have enough. Consumerism is largely based on the endless cycle of trying to find more time and convenience has become an industry unto itself aimed at streamlining the details of daily life so that we may indulge ourselves in more hours of independence. We wage wars for independence and hold it up as our number one ideal. Independence is a key indicator of adulthood and it was the founding principle of the United States.

For artists, independence can mean the difference between productivity and stagnation. Art requires time to produce as well as freedom of mind to create and visualize. Achieving independence, particularly in today’s capital driven society, can feel like an impossibility. We are living in an age of monetization where time is money and freedom is rare.

While it may feel like your options are limited when it comes to achieving personal and professional freedom, today–a celebration of independence in the US–is the perfect day to remind you of the resources that are at your fingertips. What could be more patriotic than exercising your right (no matter where you live) to step outside the considered norm and forge a path all your own.

Let’s begin with some practical ways to start working your way toward a future in which your personal artistic vision is the driving force. Our resources page is a curated list of places to find funding for your art, art jobs, residencies, and so much more. This list is updated on a weekly basis bringing you some of the highlights in the world of grants, open calls, and other opportunities. Here you might find anything from a photography residency in Iceland to grants designed to fund projects of all lengths and varieties.

It isn’t enough to simply know where to look to find funding such as this, it is also critical to have a plan when it comes to achieving these goals. Grant writing can feel daunting to even the most seasoned artist. It isn’t easy to sum up your artistic vision in 500 words or to explain to a panel of strangers why they should impart a large sum of cash to you.

Whether you want to land a grant, find a patron, learn how to sell your art online, or simply improve your writing skills, Praxis has a course for that. Our grown series of online classes cover the basics of turning your art into a full-time practice. There is work involved, as well as a commitment to keep up with the necessities of running a business, but our eight module courses break down step by step the processes involved in fully realizing your dream of being a working artist.

Like any profession, being a working artist requires constant personal improvement. Time spent working on your art isn’t called “practice” for no reason. At times it is necessary to take a step back and allow time to progress. Finding a residency is an interesting way to refresh your creativity and improve your skillset. A simple change of scene and culture can often be enough to refuel our circuits.

Of course much is said about the need for an MFA. Many artists have them and it can sometimes feel like, without one you are shut out of a world of opportunities. There are so many fascinating alternatives to the traditional MFA program these days, it’s important to realize that many of them can provide an experience just as rich and rewarding. Do not fall victim to narrow thinking, in today’s world opportunities are limited only by your own imagination and willingness to stick to your vision.

Of course in these modern times, so much hinges on who you know. While it may seem like the art world is a gated community, know that this absolutely untrue. There is effort required, but you can make your way in the art community and find the connections needed to help you find your own footing. Of course once you are standing in the midst of it all, it’s easy to freeze up. Not to worry, we thought of that, too.

No one can exist in a vacuum. Certainly one can not succeed professionally in this way. Often it can feel overwhelming to know where to begin on your own path toward independence. That’s where Praxis comes in. We are the resource by artists for artists. We are a place where those who have worked in the field of art and as freelance professionals impart what we have learned so that you can find your own way. Today, of all days, when the US celebrates what is perhaps a tenuous moment in our history of freedom, remember that the way you live your life is up to you. Do not for one moment be hustled into the narrow mainstream that is our consumer society. Indulge in these resources and carve your own path to independence.

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