Joy…or Marketing?

Making a living in the art world has been quite a journey. In my early years of painting, there was only one motivation in me to do art: Joy. Already an adult before touching a canvas with paint and brush, the surprise of my new found skill was more magical than it would have been had I been aware of it before. It can safely be said the whole process was like living on the surface of a helium balloon. I was filled with the joy of creating. Joy had eluded me in the previous 40 years. Looking back objectively, I see many incarnations of my artist self. For several years, my work sold well, without any effort on my part – other than participating in showing it. Then the economic downturn of the last few years became a part of my experience. I had grown to rely on sales for living and eating and paying my bills. There were voices demanding the kind of attention my skill level was not equipped to address. Pain is often a doorway to revelation. Marketing was introduced to me. It was a whole new concept. Market my work to sell it. At first it was not in the least appealing. It felt phony. Then I decided to approach marketing with my artist self. Marketing is an extremely creative vocation. Having already sold a lot of art, I knew that for me, in defining my motivations I did not have to be untruthful. I could reveal more of my sense of humor and my compassionate side without losing my work’s originality. I discovered that marketing is about relationship. In learning some new skills, I have also begun to place boundaries around my artist self. The main ones are Joy, Fun, and Laughter. If I am not laughing a lot, if there is no joy in it, there will be no fun. I have discovered joy is worth more than wealth. In fact, my thought here is joy IS wealth.