This is the year I decided to step up and invest in myself. To put myself out there. To get my artwork in front of the public. And, sometimes, this requires spending some money. Investments are rarely cost free.
It wasn’t an easy decision. I had been full of doubts about whether or not I was “there yet”. When the opportunity first presented itself this past summer to become a part of the local art gallery (which had become a co-op of local artists) I let the doubts creep in and I passed it up. I spent the next six months kicking myself.
My Step One: Ignore the Doubts and Jump In
So… when I found out last November that they were still taking artist applications to join, I didn’t hesitate. No more kicking myself. I presented my work, made it in, and signed a six month financial commitment. Was it scary? You bet! Let me repeat… it was a financial commitment. What if nothing sold? I’m in a gallery with over 40 other artists/artisans and with people who are well known around North Texas. Boy was I nervous.
I also felt very vulnerable. When you put yourself out there, no matter what your creative thing is, you get viewed (and critiqued) by others. Others who usually have no clue about the process, the practice, the techniques, or the cost of what goes into what you have created. They only know what they like. Unless, of course, they too are an artist because artists know.
So… I hung my first artworks in December at the gallery. Has it been worth the monthly fee to have space there? YES! My work is selling and I do a happy dance for every one of them. I take nothing for granted.
My Step Two: More Public Interaction (Getting to Know Me)
I just took part in the indoor Winter Art Fest here locally. Step number 2 of putting myself out there. Participate in more public events. (Of course now, depending on how that darn virus spreads, that may take a backseat for a time.) Relationships are important and I need to cultivate them! Anyway, I don’t have to get into all events, just those that work for me, my schedule, and my pocketbook. As a lot of you know, there are lots of events that don’t involve any financial commitment to participate but are a great way to get your name and work out there. I’ve got several in mind for where I live.
My Step Three: Invest in Simple Advertising
I have started giving out business cards instead of leaving them in my purse. (If you prefer, you can just call them introduction cards.) They are the cheapest way to advertise what you do. If you are on Facebook (or Instagram) and have a page for your artwork or other creative outlet, it won’t break the bank to make a post and then boost it for a week to an audience that meets YOUR criteria. Social media is a great way to promote what you do. However, I’m a little concerned about Pinterest. Seems a lot of people find their artwork getting swiped from there and showing up where it shouldn’t. Anyway, I know it’s a slow process to get noticed and I don’t expect instant success.
My Step Four: I Don’t Have One
The steps above should suffice for now. I believe in myself and I’ve worked hard to get where I am in my art journey. I love what I’m doing. I am now investing in myself so others might love what I’m doing and invest in me as well.
Now, if you’re ready, go out and invest! Invest in yourself!