In Part 1 I covered personal drive, and in Part 2 I covered my thoughts (and worries) about standing out. Today we will look at Sarah Robb O’Hagans perspective on playing your specialist game.
So, I do take a little issue with this. She talks quite a bit about knowing yourself and what you bring to the table better than anyone else, and sticking to that.
From my experience as a visual artist and a creative entrepreneur, sometimes you have to be flexible, open to new ideas, confident in your ability to learn and adapt quickly, and embrace being a generalist in order to find your path to making your living.
Amoung the many things I do or have done to retain my independence and keep my studio going: Art installations, picture framing, book keeping, art career consulting, show and event organizing, commissions, murals, web design, advertising and marketing, fundraising, art lessons to kids, seniors, adults and the disabled, workshops, arts writing (for news, journals and promotional materials), competitive and performance painting events, socially engaged art projects and public performance art, private painting parties, children’s art parties and art lessons in schools. Also, I have created and sold fine art greeting cards, participated in art fairs, commercial and artist run gallery systems, and explored different media from textile, painting and pottery to video! There is more, but after 20 years some experiences start to get a little foggy.
Where I agree with O’Hagan is in assessing these experiences after the fact and weeding out the ones that really don’t work for you, or fit with your specialist game. Even if that particular venture looks profitable, you have every right to assess whether it aligns with your strengths and temperament and let it go if you don’t see a future in it for you. Others may not understand or agree with your decision, but if you can make out a reasonable pro and con list for yourself, stick with your decision and shift your focus to the things that have greater potential for you.