The thought of waking up each morning and making your way into a sun-filled studio to create your next masterpiece can be incredibly appealing — not to mention the fact that you get to be your own boss. Best of all, though, a career as an artist allows you to create something amazing with your own two hands that beautifies and enriches the world.
However, being an artist is not all pretty paintbrushes and kaleidoscopes of color. It can also be a lot of work.
A career as a professional artist obviously requires creativity and artistic flair. However, it also takes patience, persistence and self discipline. If you are thinking about becoming an artist, but aren’t quite sure whether or not it is the right move, try taking the following quiz to determine if your skills and talents are a good fit:
Are you self motivated?
As an artist, you are typically your own boss. There is no one to tell you what to do or when to do it. While that may sound like a dream, it can quickly become a problem if you tend to procrastinate. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you can just take today off and get started on your project tomorrow. Before you know it, several months have gone by and you have nothing to show for it.
Even worse, if you have commissions and don’t meet your deadlines, you can quickly burn bridges with clients. When you are relying on your art for income, it is important that you actually make art. You need to be able to motivate yourself to get in the studio every single day – whether you feel like it or not.
Do you ever get so involved in your artwork that you lose track of time?
Professional athletes call it being “in the zone”. Psychologists call it “flow”. It’s when you become fully immersed in an activity to the point that you lose track of everything around you. It’s that feeling you get when you look up from your work and can’t believe that it’s already bed time.
When you’re in the zone, time seems to stop and the paint or pencil lines flow freely from your hand. You become fully absorbed in what you are doing (in a positive way.) If you find yourself feeling like this while you work on your art, it is a good indication that you truly love what you are doing.
Are you willing to take risks even though there is a chance you might fail?
The best art comes from taking risks and trying new things. Artists are constantly evolving and growing. Part of that process typically involves experimenting with new techniques, trying new materials and taking chances with your work.
Anytime you try something new, there is a good chance you might fail. As a result, you have to be willing to not only put yourself out there as an artist, but also to accept the fact that not everything you try is going to work out.
The good news is that by being willing to experiment you will also discover new things that elevate your art to the next level. The key is that you have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone if you want to succeed as an artist.
Having said that, there are exceptions to the rule. Some artists find a formula that works and stick with it for their entire career. However, in general you will have a more rewarding career as an artist if you are willing to continually expand your horizons.
Can you spend a lot of time alone without getting bored or going stir crazy?
In general, making art is a fairly solitary proposition. Most artists spend the majority of their creative time alone in their studio, with nothing but the occasional gallery show to break up their routine.
There are, of course, exceptions. For instance, graphic designers and commercial artists often work closely with other artists. Some artists choose to teach classes or participate in festivals, which provides a lot of social interaction. Many artists, however, spend most of their time working on their own. When considering whether or not to become an artist, you should think about if you prefer working by yourself or in a collaborative environment. The answer to that question can help you determine which type of art you should pursue.
Are you good at networking?
When it comes to art, it’s often about who you know. Networking not only provides you with exhibition opportunities, but it also helps you build relationships with people who have similar interests and who can help keep you motivated in your career. Since the artistic process can be fairly solitary, it’s important to have these real-world connections to help keep you grounded and inspired.
If you are shy or introverted, you may be more comfortable starting out by networking online instead of face to face. Once you get to know someone through the Internet, you can then take steps to connect with them in person.
Do you have a lot of patience?
Becoming a great artist is not an overnight event. Instead, it is a journey that can take a lifetime. For the most part, art requires a lot of attention to detail. You may spend days, weeks or even months on one piece. You may have to practice painting thousands of noses or hands before they start to look right. This type of commitment to your art takes patience.
You also have to be persistent when it comes to selling your work. You can’t give up after a few rejections. Success as an artist involves putting your work out there over and over again until you find the right venue for it. Stories of overnight success are few and far between. For most artists, it is a slow – but exceedingly enjoyable – journey.
Are you passionate about art?
Out of all the questions, this one is by far the most important. Do you spend your free time working on art instead of watching TV? Do you browse online galleries checking out other artists’ work? Do you continually try to hone and improve your skills so you become a better artist? Does the thought of making art for a living leave you feeling excited and inspired?
If so, then you would most likely be successful with an art career. When you love something so much, you will do whatever it takes to succeed.