You put sweat equity into your work, and if you're lucky you also have "sweet equity" in the form of a life partner who helps you make it all happen from behind the scenes.
I'm one of those lucky people, I have my husband Harry and I can't imagine doing it all without him. Learning to work together successfully has taken time, patience, and practicing the good advice from other successful working couples like artist Bruce Marion and Lee Wright, and portrait artist Nicholas Petrucci and conservation photographer Connie Bransilver.
A.C.T.'s Artist Advisor and Art Marketing Strategist Aletta de Wal has a series of interviews with art couples, loaded with advice that will help you in all your working relationships.
One thing I've noticed is that successful art couples tend to develop a very close, collaborative working relationship. Here are the four best pieces of advice I've learned from these successful art couples:
1. Say Three Nice Things Before Getting Critical
Lee Wright is Bruce Marion's head cheerleader, sounding board, and wrangler for his art business. Her advice: "You can't by-pass the 'niceties.' I make it a point to say a minimum of three things I like...before discussing any aspects I feel aren't working. It seems like common sense, but it takes a surprising amount of discipline to always do it that way."
Sweet Equity: Nicholas
Petrucci & Connie Bransilver
2. Separate Your Roles and Your Personal Time Clearly
Artist Nicholas Petrucci has Connie Bransilver, who is also a well-known photographer. She handles the business side of both their careers and offers this advice on working in a close, collaborative style: "We not only are equal partners in the business, but we also work within the same general workspace. For me, I can decompress from work mode to wife mode fairly easily, but I get very stressed if work mode questions or controversy are injected into wife mode. So, the advice is separate your roles clearly, and be diligent in not mixing work with personal time."
3. You Work Together, No One is "The Boss"
Lee comments on what she calls "Boss Syndrome." "Essentially, it's when the division of labor on a project ceases to be by mutual agreement, but turns into the assignment of duties by one or the other of us... As soon as one of you takes on the role of 'boss,' the balance of power is thrown off, and the person being treated as the 'worker' feels a loss of respect and importance...it comes down to remembering that your spouse works with you, not for you."
4. Have Fun!
Connie points out perhaps the most important piece of advice: "HAVE FUN! If you are doing something and it's not fun, or you don't love it, do something else!"
Robin & Harry Sagara
Go read and enjoy the full interviews! And all my best to you and yours,
P.S. Want a bit of help on how to successfully run your art business, even if you don't have "sweeet equity"? If you haven't already had one, you can request a 15-minute conversation here. It's a great start!