A few weeks ago, I posted my reply to a reader question from Cara about tackling a new career in the arts. One of the comment replies was so thoughtful and full of great advice that I felt I needed to print it here as a full-length post so that no one would miss it. This post is from Caroline, who writes Spinning Down Under:
I would add to this that if you read through the blogs of the well-known published mixed media artists you will find that they have alternate sources of income. Teaching is very common, and that is hard work and you need to be at the top of your game. You also seem to have to be innovative and be able to create a new gimmick regularly. Again that is hard work! Some are sponsored by art supplies companies and tour the craft shows, demonstrate and create projects for the company they work for.
There are very few artists of any sort who can make a living at what they do without many long hours of studying and practicing to hone their skills, and most of them these days complain they are spending far too much time on their computers making themselves visible. Being creative is not quite enough; most people are naturally creative although modern society tries to knock that out of our systems at an early age. It requires perseverance, practice, learning, more practice and more learning, and somehow finding the time to also get yourself out there in the public's eye. This can take years, not weeks to get your name known as the competition is fierce. Experience in other media is a bonus and will give you a head start and enable you to experiment independently, but the person who said that it was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration was not too far off the mark.
You do not have to sell your work to be successful as a mixed media artist; blogs, e-zines, self-published books, Youtube, Facebook, etc, are all very useful tools to get you visible and can lead to other opportunities in the art world if you widen your horizons. Determination will get you there.
Give it a go, but don't rely on it. Fashions in the craft world change very fast and if you want to be a stayer, you need other skills to back you up. All the best!
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