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"You’ll Never Make a Living as an Artist”

"You’ll Never Make a Living as an Artist”

Carolyn Edlund | ArtsyShark

Who said that to you?

Was it your parents, who wore concerned looks while they tried to steer you into declaring a business major? Did your eyes glaze over as you imagined a noose around your neck, dragging you to a windowless cubicle in a nondescript office building where you would face a dreary existence for the rest of your life?

Was it your friends, who didn’t think big enough to believe that someone they knew could launch a creative career on their own terms, and be successful doing it? The same friends who didn’t have the confidence to create their own big dreams?

Was it your ex, who complained that “your stuff” was in the way and what did you think you were doing anyhow? Who didn’t share your creative ambition and didn’t make the effort to understand?

Or was it you?

Have you denied yourself permission to do something so out of the ordinary and daring that you never took that leap?

Negative self-talk and lack of confidence have kept countless creative people from pursuing their dreams. Yes, it’s very hard. Yes, you will be discouraged, and yes, you will hear from people who say, “You’ll never make it as an artist.” Anything that’s really worth it is difficult.

I get a lot of email, online comments and questions in person from artists who are daring to dream but are having a problem with confidence and follow-through. They are looking for assistance – sometimes they want a rep, who will take all the pain of marketing and selling away from them. Sometimes they need a sounding board, or a decision maker or a partner. Other times, they want to know the “secret” to getting into galleries or are hoping for a referral. And sometimes they have trouble truly identifying themselves as artists.

Keep these five things in mind the next time you suffer a lack of confidence in your art career:

#1: You’re Your Own Best Advocate →


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