There are a few things I’ve learned from being a working artist over the past eleven years: It’s not for the faint of heart. As someone who is self-employed, I never know how much my next paycheck will be; I merely have to work to the best of my ability and have lots of faith that it’ll be enough to sustain me until the next paycheck.
There can be extreme highs and lows, so hold on tight. It takes diligence to prevent occasional symptoms of Imposter Syndrome (doubting one’s abilities despite experiencing outward success), Comparison and Despair Syndrome (comparing oneself to others in an unhealthy way), Painters Block or cases of burnout. Sales slumps often leave me wondering, ‘is this the end of the road? Is my art career over?’ On the flip side, there are feelings of complete euphoria when ideas come and paintings flow forth with ease, or when an opportunity presents itself out of the blue and appears almost too good to be true. When I started working as a full-time artist in 2012 there were very few small businesses operating in my hometown. Finding others like me felt like a lost cause, and so, I turned to the online world to build my business and for support. The result has been an intricately woven web of precious relationships with artists and customers alike that I’d never have had the opportunity to experience otherwise.
Fast forward to April, 2022. I made the difficult decision to begin moving away from my position as a top seller on Etsy when it became clear that staying was no longer sustainable for my business. As a result, sales screeched to a halt and I spent the rest of the year weighing the pros and cons of relying on online sales as my main source of income. At the same time I was emerging from the pandemic realizing how far my hometown had progressed in the last decade. Small businesses were thriving; owners were networking and supporting one another. This was something I wanted to be a part of, but had no idea where or how to begin.
It took many more months of feeling a bit lost, but then, in April 2023 I was given a couple of opportunities that allowed me to see my art career from a new perspective. A feature cover on a local art magazine (thank you, Pan-o-ply) and my connection with a lovely little art collective in town has led me to being part of something unimaginable a year ago: my own retail space surrounded by a group of women entrepreneurs who are supportive and kind.
I appreciate your continued support during this, what I call my Time of Transition. For those who may be wondering, my presence online will not change; I’ll still be active on my social media channels and in my art auction group on Facebook. I’m once again hopeful for the future of my art career and happy to be hanging on for the ride. Thank you all for being a big part of it.