Saturday, August 14, 2010
From the self help books I've read and business classes and seminars I've attended, the mantra is "focus!" I haven't created a full blown self employed art business, because I don't know what to focus on. How do I decide which area of art to pursue?
I enjoy working in a variety of art mediums, both on and off the computer. I adore the variety of tasks and the challenge and joy of learning new skills. But having a business that is open to anyone who wants to hire me in any artistic sense, means I will be spread thin. It will be hard to market to so many areas within the visual arts. And it will be very difficult to distinguish myself as an art expert without a focus.
Out of the need to make rent money I've worked many odd jobs like logo design, photographing events, teaching knitting, creating the visual identity for online stores, custom picture framing, writing about art, designing and constructing art installations, and working as an artist's assistant.
Working with other artist's has shown me that there are many ways to make a living in the creative field: with and without kids, single, married, male, female, working for a large company, freelancing... I've gained valuable skills from these jobs and I've very grateful for these experiences.
In job hunting it has become obvious to me yet again for the need to focus. I've taken the shotgun approach and it's tiring applying in so many areas: stop motion positions, administrative assistant in galleries and museums, ceramic studio technician, visual merchandiser, custom picture framer, art studio manager...
Since I keep jumping around from one artistic job to the next, I feel like I'm stuck at entry level positions. I know I am talented and a great worker, but how do I advance professionally and choose a focus and still have the freedom of learning more skills and art mediums? How do I know which job is going to support me now? How do I know which concentration of art will keep my focus for the longest amount of time? Which field is diverse enough for me to branch out to learn new skills?
For now, I'm going to finish the lantern commission, keep applying for jobs and follow up on my prospects, get ready for my online classes to start in a few weeks, and get ready to move to my new apartment. I'm ready for major transitions to be spaced further apart, so I can delve more deeply into relationships, my career and my life. I want life to be simpler and to care about fewer things with more intensity. I want to plan less and laugh more.
(To check out more crazy bookshelves look at StyleHive. For paper lanterns, stay tuned- I'm making more as we speak.)