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What does it mean to be a successful Artist?

Earlier this year, Loxley did some research by asking Artists to answer a number of questions – starting with:

What would living and being a successful artist look like to you?

The clearer the picture of what we want from our life, the easier it is to achieve it. No one person will have the same picture as someone else, we’re all wonderfully unique. Maybe you’re working to have more impact on the world, to inspire others to make positive changes. Or to provide your family with the best conditions to grow in. It could be seeking freedom for yourself; financially, time or place – the freedom to live the way you want, where you want, doing what you love and with who you want.

Ben Smith muses over the research findings.

Many of the responses we received to that first question showed that ‘peace of mind’, support and appreciation are what so many of us crave for. Another interesting observation is the “connecting/collaborating” with others, and “independence.” Whether these are opposed to each other or not probably deserves another post but I guess we could offer up the “independence to choose who and why we connect with others” as a possible way to view this.

What I was surprised at is how many artists mentioned the matter of finance and earnings. Maybe the word ‘success’ has more connotations with finances than the many other areas of success, but in any case it is an important one. Many people have issues around money; it’s corrupting power, greed, materialism etc, however I invite you to view it simply as a token system for swapping things that you, I and others need at times. For a lot of artists, there exists a tension between painting for money and painting for purely intrinsic factors.

Below are some extracts out of the responses from Artists, do they strike a chord or are you ready to declare your own unique and personal vision?

I would earn enough from my artwork to continue to paint what inspires me and is meaningful to me

My art would be sought after and new releases eagerly awaited.

Keeping my work sufficiently creative and innovative to make it the best job in the world, ......whilst paying the bills

Having a joyful place to create and feeling confident to charge my worth.

Being able to afford to live the life I love doing what I love to do.

It would be a choice I choose moment by moment , I always have chosen to be engaged or not as the mood takes me , I may not always want to do it , there have been times when I haven't and that felt better.

The freedom to follow my artistic instincts without worrying about the bills.

To work in a dry, spacious studio, surrounded by developing work and amid a 'scrapbook' of influences.

Having a consistent income from selling originals, to a growing list of enthusiastic collectors.

Art for a living; not just scraping through but enabling holidays, events, supporting my family and giving back.

Being able to work with people that I click with and enjoy being around, sharing creative visions, financially sustained by my art.

I would always have quality materials to continually produce artworks. I would have a gallery or an agent marketing my work, freeing me to develop my practice.

It would mean a stronger feeling of fulfilment and satisfaction.

Having the space and time and money to be myself and create art.

I would be a master of whatever medium or niche area of Art I choose to practise in . I would be financially secure also.

I would have my own well-equipped studio/gallery in a busy part of town. I would also have gallery representation and achieve regular sales of work.

To remain true to myself, to be comfortable with the work I produce and my reasons for creating the work.

Creating more art for me, bringing more sunshine and fun to my life.

Knowledge and appreciation of my artwork globally, and a reliable income. Respect by the establishments/arts councils/ peers.

How about YOU? Can you picture yourself, confidently and joyfully being yourself? Allowing your unique creativity to flow unabated into your art? Creating art that you love with ease and feeling delight when you see other people investing in and supporting you, eager to experience more of your Creativity and works.

Note down what it is that you want from your life, what do you want more of? What’s the most important values to you? The clearer you are about your ideal ‘picture’ the sooner it will become your reality.

We'll be reviewing the responses to the question "What’s between where you are now and where you want to be, and what currently stops you?" in our next blog post.