In 2009, as our country dealt with the aftermath of the worst recession in seventy or so years, my wife Linda and I did something that seemed crazy. We opened another art gallery. I say another, because it wasn’t our first gallery, or recession for that matter. It made complete sense to us to open on what we felt would be an upswing. The, it can’t get any worse than this theory.
Now in my 29th year as a working artist, with over 22 of those as a full time professional, I have painted through multiple downturns in the economy, along with historic tragic events and war. It’s taught me that our economy is cyclical and our history is in a constant state of development, and to survive, one must roll with it. But while rolling, one must be smart too. It’s not just about being able to take the punches, it’s positioning yourself to avoid getting hit in the first place if possible.
There’s that old adage, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, and we always adhere to this rule. In building any kind of business, including one as an artist, over specializing, having only one source for your sales or market, keeping too much inventory, not understanding who your customers are and so forth, are examples of high risk. Business people know what risk management means and they implement risk management practices into what they do. It’s one thing to take a risk and yet another to take controlled risks.
The other thing I’ve learned over the years is often you open a business with a plan and in time find out that plan is not the real direction of demand. This happens all of the time. A business developing or growing into something that wasn’t originally in the cards. When we opened Live An Artful Live we had broader intentions and the word gallery wasn’t in its name. We always wanted Live An Artful Life to become more than a retail shop, but the concept needed to simmer a bit and both it and the gallery side of things were only a couple of eggs in a big basket of stuff going on.
So seven and a half years later, the brick and mortar portion of Live An Artful Life is no longer logical and it’s time to close it to make time for things that do. I’ll keep on painting, but both Linda and I will have more time to develop Live An Artful Life as the lifestyle company it was meant to be. Frankly, it’s been our lifestyle for decades anyway, but there’s a message of inspiration and wellness to spread, and it’s time to ramp that up. In short, there’s no sinking ship, no despair, no fear of the future. In contrast, my studio door will always be open and time for more writing is now free and clear. All kinds of life abundant planning is taking place.
For those of you who title yourselves with the word artist, I offer a few words of supportive advice. First, ask yourself why you create? Is it singularly self indulgence, or is there a monetary component at play? If it is the first, than play, grow, learn, be inspired, be expressive, try new things, develop and be happy finding your deepest creative self. If on the other hand it’s the latter of the two, then be in business. Don’t hobby your way through your intentions of generating an income. If you act like you are in business, your chances for success are possible. If not, your chances are nearly impossible. If you are a business, your clients will happily treat you like you are serious and you then must be. You still have to be inspired, be expressive and grow. You still can have a good time, you just have to apply yourself differently. You have to take yourself seriously, but either way, Live An Artful Life!