As you may or may not know I am a member of an art club in NYC. Im a Junior/Scholarship member, and we have to meet at least monthly.
We met last night, and sometimes at the meeting you get one person, two, maybe three. I always hope for more, for obvious reasons. Yesterday we had five plus our two advisors. and we talked about a lot of great ideas. Different shows we’d like to do, an open house for college students, panel discussions, debates, all kinds of events we could have at the club.
The problem is always the follow through on an idea– as it is with almost any group. Getting to people to participate and be active is a job in itself. To which we addressed, and wanted to do something about it. So, we came up with a few requirements.
More things came up at this meeting than usual. I put that in the positive category of course. Nothing wrong with us throwing ideas around. Up to this point the meeting was great, inspiring, and hopeful.
Then we started to to talk about working as an artist. One comment from a fellow member was pretty much along the lines of
“Never say no”
Those were the words that were said more than once. If you are trying to break into any creative field no job is too small when you’re starting out. The committee head (our advisor) began a speech about how she has made a living being a freelance artist. she laid out how she got her work, what kind of work, and how she never said no even if it wasn’t something she’s never drawn before. She described how the industry has always been tough to get into, even in the 1970s when people today think getting work was so much easier back then. Needless to say she had a different opinion when the no work comment was said. Trying to establish a career as an artist is hard. It’s going to take work, sacrifice. The work is out there you just have to find it. “Look and a take a walk all around the city there is art everywhere, someone made that, and than someone bought it.” While her husband was listening just as we were he chimed in to say “just because one gallery doesn’t want to show your work doesn’t mean you’re not good, or never going to get work, you have to be persistent.” Our head advisor goes on to say “If you say you are going to make a living as an artist come hell or high water you are GOING to make a living as an artist. Stubbornness goes a long way. You don’t take NO for an answer. If one gallery rejects you, you move on to the next, and than the next.” “Three Years,” she says. three years it takes to slowly build what you want and make something of yourself in one location.
It was very inspiring to hear this from someone that was a creative type like me. I work in a different medium, but art is art. All the creative fields operate the same. In her voice you could hear the struggle that she dealt with just starting out even though it may have been many years ago. Listening to her you knew she truly believed what she was saying.
If you want to make it work, and you want a certain life doing what you love you will find a way. Every now and then its always good to hear this kind of conversation.
Nothing great is easy to get. So, be stubborn.