Sunday, November 16, 2008

Letters to a Young Artist- Yvonne Rainer

It was my goal in September to figure out an art related business that I wanted to run, write a professional quality business plan, create inventory, set up a website, establish a clientele, and create enough income to support myself by February first of 2009. Now I see that this plan is not achievable to do in that period of time. Even if I didn't have other obligations, statistically it takes 3-5 years for a business to make money. I don't like to include myself in generalizations (because they sound like excuses to me), but turning a profit by February is probably not a realistic goal.

Taking on complicated tasks and breaking it into lots of achievable goals hasn't been a problem for me. Instead creating realistic goals is something I struggle with. And making too many goals is another problem. I was talking to a friend today and he said that having some unrealistic goals can be a good thing. To paraphrase using a forwarded email I recently received, "To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did." (I don't know who said this.)

Today I read another nugget of wisdom from "Letters to a young artist." This artist's advise shakes me to pay attention at the speed and direction I am running. Perhaps now isn't the time to establish an art business, with full gusto.

"I only wish to emphasize, with the utmost fervor, how important it is for a young artist to delay "professionalism" as long as possible. Find some way to give yourself a chance - and time - to experiment, take risks, play, fool around, even fail, before trying to launch a career."

Best of luck,
Yvonne Rainer
New York

Maybe now is the time for play, experiment, fail, and play some more. The question now is how to support myself while focusing most of my efforts on playing with different forms of art.

Another thing Rainer said that struck me was, "Challenge yourself with what "doesn't work." I often get stuck in the planning stage, like trying to come up with the most creative or original idea. All this thinking takes away from being in the studio. Instead of thinking of the problem areas as failures, I could use them as starting points to brainstorm, play and improve.

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