Mixing art and business is just as tricky as mixing colors to get precisely the right hue. And it takes just as much skill as applying paint to the canvas in a pleasing manner.
For those of us who create and want to share our creations with the world, there is always a push-pull that demands our time and attention. Most artists are not necessarily marketers or have business savvy. But to share our vision with others, we must view our art as a business, too. We must learn the marketing skills that help us embrace that more tedious part of the journey along with our beloved art.
How do you bring creativity into your daily life?
Marie: I started my business “Marie Scott Studios” in 2001.
My mission statement was “Creating and spreading beauty.”
Along the way, there have been stretches of years
when I totally forget this concept.
But whenever I come back to it,
it reminds me of what I feel I was created to do.
The idea of creating and spreading beauty has played itself out in different ways over the past years. I am currently in a season of life where my plan to accomplish this mission is simply to keep on painting until my son goes off to college. So right now, I am just preparing for that next season—when I will have a lot more time to devote to figuring out what to do with all the paintings I will create while he is in high school over the next few years.
How do you mix art and business?
Marie: I probably spend 50% of my time painting and 50% working on marketing, bookkeeping, fighting off random distractions to creativity, etc. But the physical act of painting is definitely my favorite part of my job and is what makes me feel the most balanced as a person. The other is all a necessary evil, but also something I do enjoy (in moderation) in a different way. Mostly because it uses other parts of my brain and also the skills I developed over the years when I was a working full-time as a graphic designer.
For me, the biggest lesson in running a business is to stay in love with the process of making art. And to not judge my success based on anything other than how happy I feel with the paintings I have created in the last calendar year.
I ran my own art gallery/gift shop for three years and decided to close it about two years ago after learning the hardest lesson I have ever had to face. I am simply not willing to make the sacrifices that are necessary to have a successful, profitable retail store.
I cannot do it all, so I have chosen that for this season of my life, my family needs to be at least somewhere on my list of priorities. It probably still isn’t high enough on the list — but it is ultimately still more important to me than my success as a business person. I am currently choosing to do less than I want to with my career for the good of my family. And for my own mental and physical health.
Any tips for others who want to paint or sell their artwork?
Do not give up your day job! I know that is going to sound really discouraging, but it is very, very, very hard to make any money creating art for art’s sake. Unless– you are willing to find a specific niche market that people have a strongly felt need for. If you are willing to do that — then go for it!
I have just never been interested in devoting my energy into the types of artist projects that could actually pay real money (like teaching painting, interior design, graphic design projects, etc.). When my husband and I were in our early 20s, he went back to school for five years (after already having earned a 4-year degree) so I was the main breadwinner all those years while he worked incredibly hard in school, and also at running the rest of our lives and working summers, too.
So long, long ago when those five years began, we made a deal that when he was done with all of his engineering schooling that I could do whatever I wanted to. So that is why, and also what, I have had the privilege of doing for the past 15+ years. Making art. The one thing that I want to do more than anything else.
But my advice is this: no matter what you choose to do, nothing is perfect. So just figure out what you want to do MOST and be realistic in knowing that even the most glamorous sounding work comes with completely boring and mundane tasks. There is no perfect job, and no perfect life. At least not here in this world.
So maybe the business aspect has not been Marie’s first love, but she has effectively spread the word about her artwork through social media so others can take pleasure in her beautiful paintings.
Take a look here:
For some people, mixing business with art is much like mixing bread and hyacinths. It’s difficult, especially if you prefer the hyacinths.
So when have you had to mix business with pleasure? Or bread with hyacinths? How did it go?
Please add your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!