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Aletta de Wal
Artist Advisor & Art Marketing Strategist

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Fabienne Bismuth
3-D Artist

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Huguette May
2-D Artist

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Aletta de Wal
Fabienne Bismuth
Huguette May

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« Balance: Three Ways to Apply Murphy’s Law to Your Life as An Artist | Main | Introducing the "Balancing Art, Life & Marketing" Coaching Program »
Friday
Nov072014

Balance: Are You Ready to Throw in the Towel?

Balancing Art, Life, and Marketing Series

Estimated reading time: 2½ minutes

Artist Jane D. called me last week with the announcement that she was ready to throw in the towel on her art business.

Everything had been going so well since she retired last year and was able to make art full time instead of just evenings and weekends. She had been working non-stop last month to make enough art for three upcoming exhibits, sending out postcards and e-mails to invite people and arranging for photography and framing.

In the middle of this (fairly typical month for most artists), her daughter was hospitalized and Jane had to drop everything to take care of her and help her son-in-law take care of the grandkids.

If your life is anything like Jane’s, you are probably familiar with being stressed out, disappointed and wondering how you will juggle the art and marketing and still meet your family obligations.

You want to live up to all the promises you made to others but you’re so tired you can barely see straight.

Yes - life as a working artist is full, to say the least. You are in charge of everything in your art business. You have to be continuously creative in your art and your business activities. You have to market your art so you can make a living.

Then add the other life roles you play and life is overflowing.

But just because you love what you do doesn't mean that you don't deserve time off! In fact the creative process demands down time, and your business does better when you aren't worn out.

There is no such thing as finding the perfect still point between life and work. For artists, the lines between the two are often blurred, especially when your studio is in your home. (My filing cabinets are in the laundry room and I can't tell you how many times I've gone in there to find a file and ended up doing a load of wash!)

When you are employed, life may feel like a teeter-totter as you alternate between life and work. For the self-employed artist, it’s more like a carnival fun ride.

Since life is always in flux, the idea is to find a dynamic equilibrium of all the things that matter in your life. I mean the kind of balance in a mobile art sculpture. (Susan Birkenshaw first introduced me to this idea in 1997 in her work on Work-Life Balance.)

The floating balance in a mobile sculpture varies with the relative weight of each item hanging from a central support.

To continue with the mobile metaphor [1], sometimes the pieces and strings of the mobile get tangled up.

You get sick or have to take care of a family member. The weather affects your community or home. You get several commissions at once, or a gallery calls you for a solo show at the end of the month.

You have to realign your priorities to regain balance, so you consider your possible choices:

  • What do you have to give up in order to choose something else?
  • Do you get up early to fit in studio time and sacrifice sleep time?
  • Do you make the trade off of spending less time with your friends and having dedicated time for your business in the evenings or on weekends?
  • Which choice gets you the best results without guilt over what you are giving up and gives you the most joy?

Only you can decide. It's your balance and your life. But it’s lot to decide on your own without some guidance and someone to act as a sounding board.

I'll select only nine artists for the official launch of Balancing Art, Life & Marketing so I can give each artist extra-personal attention.

Will you be one of them?

Start adding a bit more balance to your life now.

Here’s a short whiteboard video to give you the highlights:

Grab a cup of coffee, tea or water and click here to find out if “Balancing Art, Life & Marketing’ is for you.

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