Being an independent artist in today’s creative landscape can sometimes be exhausting. It’s a balancing act of being the face of your own small business while simultaneously building a team to help you scale. I always come back to a few things that have genuinely helped me adapt and grow as an artist and person through the madness of it all. The Artistic Principles are a few sayings that I use to keep myself grounded in my journey and push me to be motivated even when the outlook is unfavorable. I hope some of this connects with you the way it did with me.
1. Be persistent with your dreams and flexible with your pursuit of them
Don’t be so strict about getting to your destination. Focus on forward progress. Every opportunity that comes your way will not fit your exact vision, but it might be the catalyst that brings the outcome you’re looking for.
2. The easiest thing to do is make your life harder
Building your platform will take a lot of time and hard work. The easiest thing you can do is start to lack consistency and focus. In months, the years you put in can be erased if you aren’t committed to your plans. If you want this, it’s going to take work.
3. This has nothing to do with me, and I’m happy for you
Jealousy is the expectation of someone else’s path. We all have been on the other side of seeing someone receive a blessing and instantly think about ourselves in context. This is an unhealthy perspective to have in this industry. Next time you see a fellow artist receive an opportunity or do something you want, don’t be personally bothered by it. Take time to say out loud, “Aye, I’m happy for you G” and keep it pushing.
4. Don’t stress about the hostess who won’t seat you
A “yes” will not always come from the person you think it will. I can’t count how many times I’ve been left on read or not replied to for an opportunity, and a few weeks later, a person reaches out to me about that same opportunity that just so happens to work above the person who ignored me. Don’t take it personally. Just continue knocking on doors and being determined. The right people are always watching.
5. Fall short and stand tall
Almost all my failures were trial and error for successful outcomes. When you take a loss in stride, you allow yourself to continue walking. We tend to fall short of our expectations and become disappointed, not realizing it’s a blueprint for our future.
6. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; just slightly tweak it
Perfectionism will have you searching for something that is not only unattainable but also not engaging. Take the time to see what has worked for others in the past, build off that idea and release it into the world. We are in a period where we compete for people’s time rather than a competition with other artists. Don’t be so afraid to be similar to someone else. Just find what works for you and be genuine. I promise it truly doesn’t matter to the people consuming your art as much as you think.
7. The brain is the engine. Without fuel, there’s no drive.
Last but probably the most important one on this list, take care of yourself. Plant your seed in the right soil, water it, receive proper sunlight. Please don’t fall for the idea that you always have to be working, our most vital tool as artists are our brains, and we have to make sure we are giving it everything it needs to stay mentally balanced and not perpetually fatigued. Take time to relax, be with family, and find hobbies outside of your line of work. Creativity is all around us.