In a recent post from author, Austin Kleon, he mentions this quote from "Groundhog Day," explaining "How you answer that question is your art." Earlier in his post, Kleon writes, "And, frankly, I no longer need my work to change anything — I just know I need to do it."
One of the biggest struggles when you are working as an artist--particularly when you are first starting out, is fighting the urge to make art that "sells." That, my friends, is a tremendous amount of pressure that will lead you, as an artist, to a massive, insurmountable creative road block. I don't know about you, but I can see right through an artist's work that is created just to sell. There is something cheap, and incredibly inauthentic about this type of work--reminiscent of the type of "art" that you can buy in a souvenir shop. And while I appreciate the business side of this form of "production," as an artist, willfully removing your creative freedom from the equation can hardly be fulfilling. Not surprisingly, this often results in not only the artist feeling a lack of connection to his/her work, but potential buyers also feeling a similar lack of connection.
A truth that I acknowledged early on in my career as an artist is that if I focused on creating artwork that mattered to me first and foremost, everything else would fall into place. And so far, that has proven to be true. My most fulfilling moments as an artist are when I am able to witness someone making a connection with my work. A few years ago, a visitor to my booth at an art festival, after spending several minutes smiling at my work, exclaimed, "You must be a happy person because when I look at your work it makes me happy!" In another instance, a mother stopped by one of my shows with 4 children. She looked completely exhausted and asked to sit for awhile while her kids ran around. As she sat and looked at my work, her face began to brighten, and when it was time for her to leave, she turned to me and said, "Thank you! I feel so much better now." She left with a smile on her face and a little more pep in her step. Instances like these, and countless others have proven to be more rewarding than a focus on making sales could ever be.
Focus on creating artwork that matters to YOU, and everything else will fall into place.