Conspire Against the Artist Myths

One week from today, on February 23, I will let you in on the secret Artist Conspiracy membership program that I have been testing since the first of the year.

Bruce L. Bunch, Greenback Cutthroat Trout. Watercolor.
Bruce L. Bunch, Greenback Cutthroat Trout. Watercolor, 9 x 12 inches. ©The Artist

I have a positive spin on the word “Conspiracy.” I view the Artist Conspiracy as a get-together of like-minded artists who are conspiring against perpetuated myths such as:

  • Artists must be poor and sacrifice their well-being for their art.
  • Artists are “bad” at marketing.
  • Artists should accept the solitary life and find solutions on their own.

You can conspire against the same myths in your daily work.
Don't refer to yourself or other artists as poor or starving.
Don't say you're bad at marketing.
accept that you have to do it all alone.
The Artist Conspiracy is not a class. It's a space I created for artists who want ongoing support and accountability from a community of like-minded artists.
It's easy to take classes and surf the Web for answers. It's more difficult to do The Work.
The Work is what The Artist Conspiracy is all about. This means:

  • Committing to your art career 100%.
  • Creating the discipline for studio time and marketing – even when you don't feel like it.
  • Ditching the excuses.

You might already be at this point and conspiring against the myths on your own. If so, that's fantastic!
But … if you would like to join our community of artists who are getting down to business, you can find out more about the Artist Conspiracy and whether it might be a good fit for you during a complimentary call on Wednesday, February 23.
All you have to do is sign up here.
What else can we do to conspire against the artist myths?

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26 thoughts on “Conspire Against the Artist Myths”

  1. Do they offer business courses with an Arts Major?We need to promote that. Our profession is not taken seriously and it is up to us to change that. If you look around your home you will observe that everything you own was first designed by an Artist. There is nothing wrong with being compensated appropritely for your gift/contribution to society.Thank you for your encouragement towards that goal.

  2. Any chance of a transcript of this call? (I know you offer the transcript for some of your paid courses, at least.) I’m hard of hearing, so couldn’t access the audio either live or in playback, but am very interested in this idea.
    Many thanks for considering it.

    1. Thanks, Alyson, I appreciate your considering it.
      A less labor-intensive alternative to a full transcript would also be just a text outline of what was said. What questions were asked, how they were answered, etc. I’d like to think having that information written out would be useful to you as well, so a win for everyone involved.
      Thanks again.

    2. Thanks, Heather. I’m thinking that an outline with bullet points will be much more interesting and useful than a full transcript — due to the nature of the call.

  3. I am looking at the myth that a woman can not be a mother and an artist. I was committed to my carreer, and now I find myself bogged down by this particular myth. I am four months pregnant, and my studio time has shrunk to a nubbin of its former robustness. Many artists I have spoken too say the same thing, “Well, you can’t be an artist and a mother.”

    1. Hi Cleo,
      I have two young children, and yes in the beginning your time to create and work on your art will be diminished. Truthfully, you will be too tired to think about picking up a paintbrush, pencil or whatever medium you use.
      However, I bought a notebook, and wrote down concepts and ideas I had for future art projects when an idea or theme would pop into my head. Now I have a little book filled with ideas to work on now that my youngest has started school.
      Keep reading your blogs, art magazines, network on LinkedIn and collecting whatever you find inspires you. The baby phase passes so quickly, so please enjoy that time with your child and remember you’re not giving up on your art…just delaying it a little.
      All the best.

    2. Cleo,
      I am a mother of 2 kids 4 and 1….I made some most beautiful works after my first child’s birth..but of course I had a lot of help from others then…though things are different now after my second child….so for that reason I am much more organized with my time and work and am surprised to see the amount of work I get done in spite of 2 kids..
      Motherhood is very special not everybody is blessed…and with motherhood comes multitasking…you will learn that…
      First 4 months in pregnancy are the will be able to make more art soon…similarly the first few months after the baby’s birth is…but those will pass away soon…
      I agree with all the will find your own way to do what you love to do…
      Here is something you might enjoy…

  4. Cleo,
    Your comment struck a cord with me. As the mom of 2 boys (though both in school now) there ARE definite challenges to motherhood and any career. I think the ability to work at home does give us an advantage. However there are only so many hours in the day and only so much of you to go around.
    Enjoy your role as mom, but ask for help from others so you can work on your art as well. There is a great book called “A Question of Balance: Artists and Writers on Motherhood”. I read it repeatedly after my first child was born looking for some magic formula. Spoiler alert: there isn’t one. The artists and writers that were very productive when they had young children either had relatives, day care or nannies to help. Society needs to quit demeaning women who chose to take an active role in raising their children. You can strike a balance. Find what works for you and don’t beat yourself up about it – your kids are worth it.
    Sorry for the departure Alyson!

    1. I love this departure! It is a myth that should be added to the list. I hear about this ALL of the time and feel inadequate to address it, though I know that being a mother and an artist are doable. I see it happen.
      Okay, who wants to write a guest post for me on this topic? Or be a telesminar guest for the Artist Conspiracy?
      Wanted: Artist-Mothers who expertly balance their commitments and their art.

  5. I feel that the big conspiracy lives mainly in our own minds. We can limit ourselves without even realizing it. The first task is to let go of what we think we can’t do, let go of what other people might think. Basically, let go of fear and stop making excuses. Then get to work. Thank you, Alyson, for this forum to speak out and for the opportunity to hear from other artists.

    1. You’re right, Holly. That’s why I encourage you to be careful when you say or do anything to perpetuate these myths.

  6. Yes artists perpetuate these myths themselves, and unfortunately mostly women, who are also hooked into the blatant and internal sexism they have accepted. I can’t tell you how many artists’who are women I meet who don’t believe in them selves, say those myths all the time and put themselves down all the time. They don’t have the self confidence to stand up strong and claim their place. They not only listen to but promote the sexism that tells women that they are not “good enough” and males are the artists. This bull can be stopped by WOMEN!!! We have to stop calling each other “you guys” and take our place in the work of ART…DEMAND equal representation in Museums, Galleries, and in the NEWS!!

  7. I’m not a mom and I work 2.5 days a week and I still feel like I have to fight for my time to create. Something always comes up, but the struggle is to say “no, I’m going to create instead!” Schedule time to create like other appointments and follow through with the same importance. I also started a Plein Air group which meets at a different location each month. We are a group of open minded individuals who create visually, with words or with music. We gather to create for several hours using our location as inspiration. Sharing ideas and lively conversation follows while eating our packed lunches. A group situation forces you to be accountable to create and it gives you a social connection.

  8. I have been involved in the arts all my life. Starting as an advertising artist, when I had my first child (I have 2 girls) I became a fiber artist working on a loom, now I paint oil portraits and figurative painting. I have taught both weaving and art throughout my careers. My daughters from little on and my husband from the beginning of our marriage just always accepted the fact that I’m an artist and that I needed time to create. In fact once when visiting a friend my oldest asked my friend where her art space was. They have even taken me to school for show and tell and have worked art fairs with me. It’s up to us to make our needs known and to follow up on those needs. Both girls are grown now with families of their own and have always made it clear that they have their space and their time. Its up to you.

    1. I love this, Janet. I’m often telling clients that their children need strong role models. And putting everyone else’s needs ahead of your own does not a strong role model make.

  9. Saundra Lane Galloway

    I WISH I had read this before I posted on my blog today! I just said the VERY thing you told us not to say…”I AM BAD AT MARKETING”! I put a call out for artists to band together…for those who have had a measure of success to share, to help each other! I’m signing up for the call…but some of us are struggling financially…but I’m always willing to learn!

    1. Saundra: Maybe you should change that. Or write a follow up post. Saying “I am bad at marketing” (or SCREAMING IT IN ALL CAPS) is a self-fulfilling prophesy.

  10. How about the myth that artists are not very organized and don’t have good follow through? I am an artist and I have these qualities.

    1. That’s another good one, Molly. I know lots of artists just like you. We’re as organized as anyone else.

  11. Pingback: Musehunting: 18th February 2011 – Becky Hunter

  12. I love the whole concept of “Artist Mythbusters”. I feel as though for most of my career, I’ve been quite “out there” in the mythbuster capacity, including the whole, “you can’t be a mother, run a business and be an artist” at the same time. I am 49, and have 3 children, aged 18, 14 and 6. I have been an artist all my life, and making a good living at it since 1989.
    My family is a very big part of my studio practice, and over the years I’ve found many ways to integrate some critical learning for the kids through studio practice. Truth be told, I learn more from them than I think they do from me. It was an insight into watching my daughter, when she was 4…..just dive in and create a painting that led me to create a new project involving all ages, disciplines and cultures, “The Community Fusion Project”.
    As creative people, doing the work, we are more than capable of finding creative solutions. Community can help develop this, and a group of artists is a powerful thing.
    Being a Mom is one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given as an artist.
    Be well, everyone!

  13. Pingback: Once Is Never Enough in Marketing — Art Biz Blog

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