Ambition And The Artist

Blocks spelling Ambition
Lots of questions about this subject.

Deep Thought(s)

What role does ambition play in your art career and business?
How do you see the ambition of other artists?
Has your ambition changed over the years? How so?
Has your ambition changed with success?

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12 thoughts on “Ambition And The Artist”

  1. Frankly, I believe ambition is almost more important than talent. You can have the greatest abilities in the world, but if you don’t have the drive to put your work out there, to get it seen, you’ll go nowhere fast. This past year, I have felt my ambition grow exponentially. Through all the connections I’ve made, all the research I’ve done, and all the lessons I’ve learned, I feel as though I’m on another plane entirely. When a person who lives half a world away from you (or many people) feel compelled to contact you about your art, it feels as though you have climbed Mt. Everest.

  2. I agree with Janet, I’ve just watched ‘Jean-Michel Basquiat,The Radiant Child’. His ambition was the driver to position himself and his talent in front of the art world. He had effective networking skills! Coming into contact with other artists’ ambition and success, via films and online and the local art scene, allows me to see what is possible and increasingly what may be possible for me. My ambition is rising. I also think that ambition, to be ambitious, evokes negative connotations for/from some people- where as if you think that you want to do the best for yourself and your art, this seems more palatable.

  3. Looking back to my earlier life in design school, I gave my work away, it felt wrong to sell it. More than 15 years later, I give very little work away, it is all for sale. My ambition rises each year. The more I sell my work, the more I want to sell my work. The more money I make, the more creative my jewelry and life style becomes. I also have an 8 year old who wants to be an artist. The fact that my daughter watches my every move, really makes me want to succeed in what I do. Mostly in hopes that I can work the kinks out of the business aspect, so I can pass on my knowledge and make her creative business run smoothly from the beginning.

  4. The word “ambition” has gotten a bad rap. Thanks to your coaching through the Artists Conspiracy and also from reading/following people like Seth Godin and Brene Brown, I’ve decided that “ambition” is not a dirty word. It’s A-OK to lean forward, to set intentions, to be the best you can be! It can be scary to put yourself “out there,” but also exhilarating… Whenever something seems like a stretch and like I could make a mistake, I am often deciding to do it anyway these days… I might make a mistake, but might also learn a lot. Some people might not like me, but they might not like me anyway!
    In looking around at the successful (and well-known) artists in the field of ceramics, I can see that they are hard-working and generous with their knowledge and their talents. They have made mistakes, and still keep on going forward! Those are the people I’m learning from.

  5. Ambition plays a big role in my art career and business because without that I wouldn’t have an art business and much of a career in art. My ambition has not changed much over the years except for that the type of ambition and business decisions I’ve considered have fluctuated. I believe ambition is important for all artists because it is very unstable to count on others for all of your motivation and guidance.

  6. What role does ambition play in your art career and business?
    My ambition is to create 7 to 10 Paintings that I am proud of each year. If I make a couple more…even better but the end goal is to have an Art Exhibit in my Studio each Summer. If I sell something great. If I don’t, I am more than happy to hold on to my artwork for a Solo Exhibit someother time.
    How do you see the ambition of other artists?
    I don’t really see the ambition of other artists…just their artwork and how they “sell” it. If the quality of their art is high [and it is easy to notice by an experienced eye] than I pause and get to know all I can know about the artist – in person or through publications. Joe Fig is the perfect example of an Ambitious, Handsome and Talented Artist that comes to mind for some reason. Love his book INSIDE A PAINTER’S STUDIO.
    Has your ambition changed over the years? How so?
    Achieving perfection in whatever I set my mind to do has always been my ambition and it has not changed a bit as a matter of fact has gotten progressively worse over the years. My ambition is to continuously create Museum Quality Artwork. Perfection to me is when I am completely satisfied with what I have done/acomplished.
    Has your ambition changed with success?
    No. My ambition has been to create artwork that means something to me. That alone has brought me success. If anything, success has reinforced me to continue creating artwork that is personal and meaningful. People can easity connect with it in some shape or form. I guess in the end it is all about Perseption.

  7. Debora L. Stewart

    I have more ambition now than ever before and it is at an age when most people are thinking of “winding down” and retiring. I feel kicked into gear and obsessed with my art. My younger years had many distractions that kept me from my art and I put it on the back burner for a very long time. The internet has changed my life. I have received so much support and positive feedback. I have taken risks. I’ve reached out of my comfort zone and been rewarded. I am at a place now that is very exciting. I have a much larger vision of my art life than I did twenty years ago.

  8. I think that the negative connotations of the word ambition have to do with achieving your goals at all costs – other people be damned. But it’s good to strive for greatness in general.
    I would say that my biggest ambition is to always grow as an artist. I would love to be considered a master metalsmith before I die. That being said, I do have many other *goals*. It all basically leads to that one though. Plus money. It would be nice to only have to create things to earn enough money to have a comfortable lifestyle. Sigh, why does it always come back to that?

  9. Ambition is a potent driver, and I can’t see how much would get accomplished without it. I’d say my ambition quotient is growing, nudging me forward with each little success. Working at creating art without a decent level of ambition wouldn’t be fair to your supporters, friends and clients. Wouldn’t art making without ambition be moving toward dabbling?

  10. There are many days were I feel like cursing my ambition. Without it I would be perfectly happy pottering in my studio making lovely artwork, without having to bother with all this ‘business stuff’ you keep teaching us! And yes, my ambition changes continually as I meet new goals.

  11. I think “blind ambition” is the real problem here. That is where the word “ambition” got the bad rap. Over the years my ambitions have certainly changed from being an artist just wanting to get into certain shows and organizations, to organizing artists, to supporting artists’ rights and art to starting my own art gallery which 15 artists including myself.
    But here is another thought:
    Does ambition + talent = creativity? It seems to me that is where the art world is really suffering.

  12. Ambition towards your work (making the art) stems from a different mindset them making money off of your talent and work. There are many ways to make it in the art world and each person has a different way of getting there I suppose. I’m not an artist but I value art and love to get involved in helping the artist reach the masses for all to enjoy. I’ve teamed up with a local art gallery who used to publish many large artists in the 70’s,80’s,90’s and early 2000’s to get these large editions to the people which is hard to do in a physical space in southern new jersey.
    I’d love to one day to able to bring back older print making styles for the artist but while the print as you sell model of Giclee has taken over which makes the blind ambition less of a reason since you shouldn’t get hurt printing an edition that doesn’t work(in respects to the artists who’s medium is paper and paint).
    The goal is to offer great pieces of work to all at very fair prices so everyone can hang something more then a poster on their walls!
    Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.
    Andy Warhol

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