[Note: The title of this post has been changed from “When to Give Up On Your Art Career.” Thanks to Charmaine and her insightful comment.]
I am not now, nor will I ever be, a cheerleader for everyone who wants to make a living as an artist.
Why? Because I don't believe everyone who is talented is cut out for the artists' life. And when I say artists' life in this instance, I mean the full-time, make-it-or-break-it artist who must make money in order to survive.
You have to have thick skin and and iron stomach to endure the rejection and hard work that come with being an artist. Most artists weren't born with this gene, but many of you have adapted.
If you are missing the gene or haven't been able to adapt to running an art business, there is no reason to feel like a failure. Just because your best friend says your work is wonderful and “you should try to sell it” doesn't mean you should feel compelled to make a living as an artist.
It's okay to call it quits – to give up your art business – IF:
- You find yourself making excuses around not making art or marketing it.
- You keep breaking promises around your business.
- You repeatedly get physically ill whenever someone criticizes your work.
- You can't bear the thought of selling your “babies.”
- You are consistently losing money year after year and aren't doing anything differently to make money.
- You are resistant to personal and financial growth.
- You think money is the root of all evil.
- You can't say anything nice about other artists.
On its own, any one of the above is enough to doom your art business. If you can say “That's me” to more than one of them, it's time to reevaluate what you're trying to do.
Dig deep and ask yourself if you want to make money from your art.
If your resolve is strong enough, you won't quit. Instead, you'll start working on yourself. You'll adjust your expectations and identify your blocks in order to achieve better outcomes.
You'll read books, attend seminars, and work with coaches who can help you forge ahead. You'll do this because you are up to the challenge and your work has a strong message that deserves an audience.
There is no shame in making art for your own enjoyment and self-expression, but I'm pretty sure this isn't you or you wouldn't be reading my blog.