All that glitters must surely be from Essex

All that glitters must surely be from Essex
Oil and glitter on canvas

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Medals, more marmite and marketing

I was reading a fellow artists blog who said that the most difficult thing about blogging is the title of the posts and how to start them.  I whole-heartedly agree - there are millions of blogs, hundreds of thousands by artists how do you make it interesting enough in the first few lines to make someone want to read it?  Wish I knew - I just write what I'm thinking at the time, this really is just me talking but on a keyboard.

Anyway, first few lines over with on to the nitty gritty.  The whole point of this blog is to chart my journey into becoming (hopefully) a professional artist...professional being making money or a living from my Art.  Those of you who have been to my website, or follow me on here on Twitter, and of course that great rareity in the world of the internet-those of you who actually know me, will know that I spent my youth (up until 22) studying Art.  My degree is in Painting, but then I stopped.  It took me 7 years to pick up a paint brush again.  In truth I don't really know why, was it that after so many years of being creative to obtain a grade/qualification, after spending every waking hour thinking about, planning and writing about my work I just had run out of creativeness or (as I had always had up until then) the compulsion to create...I really don't know.  I'm sure I could pay a man with an agreeable tone of voice and a taste for comfy looking cardigans, a fortune to delve into my psyche to give me the answer....but honestly, I don't care.  I didn't paint for a number of years, and then one afternoon I just began again.

With my urge to create restored, my passion for painting back again, I then began to think..."well...I enjoy this so much I wonder if  could do this full-time?"  Perhaps because I was finally painting for me rather than for credits or a grade - and so my enjoyment of it was even greater than I remembered.

So I find myself on the road,endevoring to become a "professional" artist.  And bloody hell it's a tough one.  There are no hard and fast rules of how to do it, and much like I imagine is also true for acting and being a musician, there is no one way to become successful.  By successful I don't mean famous...I mean successful in the truest sense of the word. No shortcut, just a lot of hard graft and as today delievered me, a LOT of no's and closed doors.

So what the hell has any of this got to do with the title?  Well, the Marmite Prize for Painting sent me an email today notifying me that I had not been successful in being shortlisted.  I had a moment of inner struggle today when I asked myself if I was really the sort of person who could relentlessly self-market myself (an absolute necessity), if I can't blow my own trumpet then who else will.  This does not come naturally to me at all and at times I find it excrutiating.  But it must be done if I want to be noticed amoung the hundreds of thousands of other artists who are struggling to be seen and get their work noticed.

And the medals....well for those of you reading this who aren't aware of Great Britain's history of medal winning in the Olympics - Team GB 2012 is the most successful at getting the jewellery in over 100 years.  Now this is quite exceptional for us Brits - usually we tend not to watch too much as we know we won't win or aren't even in the running for a medal - but this year, my god we're winning left, right and centre.  I daren't move away from the tv in case I miss one of our fantastic athletes winning something.  I dragged myself away today to finally get into the studio, but even then had the Olympics Live being streamed to my phone.  Not great for the focus.

There are many obstacles to be overcome, if I am to become a professional artist.  Many moments of self doubt still to come......and a hell of a lot more no's!  I'm not going to wax lyrical about being thick skinned as I think an artist ahould be sensitive to the world around them in order to reflect it and to express ourselves in a way that others can identify with. I'm sure it is as it ever was.

My progress on this piece is below, I got to go to town on it with the glitter today and had enourmous amounts of fun.  Although unfinished, I'm pleased with how it's going (apart from a few niggling refinements that I've been thinking about all evening....OCD) and should get it finished later in the long as I can tear myself away the the Olympics!!

Another "no" then today but I suppose I need to wait a bit longer for my work to strike a chord with others.

Back to the Olympics, it's been 20 whole minutes...we must've won another gold in that time!

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