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Old 09-24-2011, 05:44 PM
KatyL KatyL is offline
Level 9 user
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Clovis, New Mexico
Posts: 269
Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

I get what you are saying in the long run. I also agree that art school is only a "part" of a career, and not something that causes, or leads to a career.

I began sculpting again after a fallow period that lasted many years. I did it because it was my true vocation, and I recognized that late in life. (I also have a degree that did not lead to a job).

At the time, I was horribly unemployed. My job was eliminated because the equipment I used became obsolete. I was not trained to do anything else, and it had been 10 years since I graduated from college. I moved out of unemployment little by little, at first with a part time job. I do not make much money now, but it is over minimum wage, I have health insurance and some job security. (I bake bread for a living when I am not sculpting).

The person (not artist necessarily) needs to first take care of his livelihood-- meaning a place to live, food, transportation to a job, and a job. Certainly you know that everyone has dreams, and most people would rather be doing something else than what they are doing.

If you go to a tech school, you might pick up a CNA, or an associates in accounting. A CNA can bring in 12 to 14 dollars per hour where I live in the Midwest. Many hospitals have CNA programs which are free (you must interview as though it were a real job). I know a good painter who sells regularly who is a CNA. His job allows him to take the time he needs to do his art, and the money he needs also. Get job training in a field that is actively hiring people. Art, as you notice, is a kind of small business, and you can't expect to get any kind of work doing it.

Once you have a job bringing in a reasonable amount of money, work on creating a small body of work. This may take you a few years. Not that this is totally ideal, but you can't really get into a gallery without a reasonable sampling of your work. Don't go off on tangents-- do a bunch of stuff in a style that amuses you, and that you figure might interest other people. You really have to be a bit of a capitalist here. If you want to make sales, you need to chose things you figure will sell. Remember also that you can do other forms of art if they are cheaper or easier for you. For instance, you can paint, get into a gallery and move to sculpture in a few years. Becoming an associate member of a co-op gallery usually will get you some wall space.

This is somewhat similar to what I have been doing after the long period of unemployment. (I started in one gallery as a painter of abstracts). My abstracts still sell well. I have gotten 2 galleries interested in my sculpture (which is more figurative) one here, and one in Colorado. I have also had my work looked at by certain people who are decently big in the arts. I am linked now to a small foundry and giving mold making classes locally. It is a lot of hard work and shuffling priorities, and I still make only a handful of sales per year.

Meeting people who like your work is very important. Get some nice clothing, an artist's statement and go to cocktail parties and meet collectors. Easier said than done. Going to "Art Walks" is a start.

The business side alone will cost you money. Websites and packing and transportation costs. Crane rentals. As you might know, just because you have a show, or are in a gallery it does not mean you will sell unless you work on getting some name recognition. So you may find out that you are spending a lot of money but will not see a return for several years down the road.

But the first step is to get that new job and place yourself in a situation where you can put 300 or 400 dollars per month into sculpture. Also get a housemate to keep your costs down. Paying 1/2 for your lodgings really releases some of your money for your own personal use. I cannot say enough about "doubling up" you get so much more for your money.

It is not much as far as advice, but is a beginning.

At the moment, I see the art I do as an investment for the future. I am trying to build up about 20 sculptures so I can mount a first small solo show. There is no "simple" way to do it, just make one after the other.

Don't depend on art to buy you a nice warm bed, because it is a cruel mistress.
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