Becoming a successful artist is not easy and, for many people, success is largely a matter of luck. Though you can’t control how the world responds to your art, you can take certain steps to strengthen your brand, to promote yourself, and to improve your chances of “making it”. If you’re just getting started with your career as an artist, you should be careful not to make certain mistakes – keep reading to find out what those mistakes are and how to avoid them.
1. Having Unrealistic Expectations
If you’re right out of art school, you’re probably eager to enter the “real world”. Though there is nothing wrong with a little excitement, don’t let that excitement eclipse reality – manage your expectations and be practical when taking your first steps as an artist.
2. Not Setting Goals or Planning Ahead
While you can’t control the future, you can set goals for yourself as an artist and for your career. Just make sure that your goals are practical and attainable then start taking steps to accomplish them.
3. Neglecting to Hone Your Skills
Even if your career as an artist takes off and your work is in high demand, you still need to practice. Whether you spend an hour a day sketching or you work with a different medium once a week to keep your skills sharp, you should always be learning and growing.
4. Comparing Yourself to Others
As an artist, you should learn and draw inspiration from the masters but don’t compare yourself too heavily to other artists. The mark of a true artist is self-assurance – you should know what your vision is and being able to communicate it through your art. You are an individual, so there is no point in making comparisons between yourself and other artists!
5. Trying to Do Too Much
If you want to be successful as an artist, you need to know who you are and what your vision is. There is nothing wrong with trying different mediums and you should expect your style to change over time, but don’t try to master every medium you try because you may find yourself stretched too thin.
6. Giving Up on the Basics
As you build your career as an artist, you still need to spend time honing your skills and you shouldn’t neglect the basics! After all, they are what got you to where you are today.
7. Striving for Perfection
There is nothing wrong with holding yourself to a high standard, but don’t let perfectionism get in the way of your creativity. As an artist, your work is as much about the process and the finished product, so cut yourself some slack and let your imagination take it where it will.
8. Keeping Your Work to Yourself
You’ll never build a successful career as an artist if you don’t put your work out there – it is that simple. You don’t necessarily have to have a giant gallery show to be successful, but you should find a means of sharing your art that works for you and that advances your career.
9. Not Connecting with Other Artists
No matter what field you choose for your career, it is important to meet and connect with people within that field. As an artist, you can learn a lot from experiencing the work of your peers and you may find it inspiring. Making connections is also helpful for growing your brand and finding opportunities to show.
10. Giving Up on Learning
After graduating from art school, you may feel like you know it all and that you’re ready to take the world by storm. The sign of a true artists, however, is the ability to continue learning and honing your craft. Don’t be afraid to try new things – it’s the only way you’ll grow as an artist!
If in reading this you realize that you’ve made some (or all) of these mistakes, don’t worry! It isn’t too late to turn things around. Your first move should be to take a step back and take a closer look at where you are in your career and where you are going. Once you refocus your mind and reaffirm your goals, you’ll be able to start moving in the right direction.