Advice Ignored < Deep Thought Thursday

When did you ignore advice for best practices (unknowingly or knowingly) and it paid off?
In other words, ignorance was bliss.

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17 thoughts on “Advice Ignored < Deep Thought Thursday”

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Ain’t that the truth, Christopher. So many artists are making up for lost time because they listened to someone who told them the same thing a long time ago.

    2. I feel sorry for many that have been misinformed and led down the wrong path, away from there true passion in life. Thankfully, I knew when I was 8 years old and refused to believe the misinformed that where trying to direct me down the wrong path. In life it’s so important to listen to that inner voice. Sometimes it won’t please everyone, and that is ok. You are the only one responsible for your happiness in life, as artists we have to stop living for others approval.

  1. Whenever anyone tells me something can’t be done and I do it anyway. “Paying off” does not necessarily mean monetarily but rather succeeding by one’s own definition (though having an income would be nice, of course).
    Some “best practices” are and some are merely fashionable trends with little or fleeting evidence of “best.” On the third hand, some really are useful at times and in the right circumstances.

  2. When I first started showing I was told by someone with high credentials that I absolutely MUST mat all my feathers with white mats if I expect to sell them. I knew in my gut that was wrong. The painted feathers are best presented in suedes and earth tones to compliment their natural appearance. White mats would have been very…. anemic. It was the right choice, as I am frequently complimented on my matting and framing – by buying patrons.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      That’s kind of funny, Julie. I probably would have given you the same advice. Apparently, you knew best.

  3. Several years ago I received an unsolicited critique from an artist I admired who stated that my work was oversimplified and needed to have more to it because people appreciate the intricacy.
    The simplicity of my work is extremely intentional and one of the elements that distinguishes my work from others. I often receive positive comments from my collectors regarding the simplicity.
    An artist can go nuts trying to incorporate every comment or suggestion that they get and they’d all contradict each other.
    You’ll never please everyone – so just please yourself.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Interesting that it was unsolicited. I don’t understand how that happens, but I guess some people just feel the need.

  4. Hi Alyson,
    I ignored the advice I had from more than one person about participating
    in a major art show in Europe, and I’m so glad I did. What did I get out
    of the experience? Plenty. The trip, location, other art, rich cultural surroundings and food were amazing. Plus the experience of showing with, and meeting artists from all over the world was thrilling and enlightening. I understood more about my place in the whole scheme of
    things, and about how art is viewed in other countries. And perhaps the most wonderful part of the trip was the many lasting friendships I formed with artists in other countries.
    Super deep thought, super blog as always.
    Thanks for this,

  5. Hello Alyson.
    Starting out, I had many issues with technique but couldn’t afford instruction, so I read voraciously. I have about 50 art books and they are all quite similar on advice, none of which was very helpful. Things were dragging along horribly when I found Richard Schmid’s book, Alla Prima – , and everything turned around for me. If I hadn’t ignored all the previous info and kept looking, I probably wouldn’t be painting now (and much less happy).

  6. I had a similar experience to Casey’s a little while ago with the unsolicited critic stating that my drawing skills are iffy. My current technique is alla prima (thanks for the term David!) and work is heavily textured, color-based and basically abstract impressionism so I’m not sure what they were referring to. It wasn’t something I took to heart, although it confused me for a bit, making me question. Either way, I’ve had numerous collectors and observers comment on my work and that they love the “free-ness” of my art.
    On the other side of the coin, I was at an art market a couple weekends ago and received one of the best compliments and suggestions which was to mount my stamping reproductions on to a substrate (and charge a little more) instead of selling them only on paper. The light went off and I decided to start mounting them on 3/4 nice birch.
    I have to say, I’m always torn when someone suggests something good. It’s usually something that I deep down believe I would have discovered eventually. I’m really big into the discovery aspect of art-making and I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a little bummed when someone suggests something good because I didn’t see in the first place and also that I should give the other person credit.

  7. “You can’t lower prices”…I grew up watching my Dad watch the stock market daily…He was a doctor, but he loved the ups & downs of the exchanges…I think the adrenalin rush of getting in low, selling high, even the downer of losing when a stock dropped made him feel more a part of the human race…I have always allowed my prices to rise & fall with supply, demand & the economy…It makes it interesting for me, & allows me to sell even when times are tougher…In the past ten years I have sold consistently, albeit for less, while others sought out secondary jobs to keep the bread & butter going…

    1. That’s kind of congruent to where I’m going; I am thinking of lowering some of the prices on my lower end work. Although to be honest, I haven’t ever sold consistently yet because I can’t seem to find my market. I suppose it is entirely possible my market is like my dating pool – nonexistent (according to eharmony Hahaha).
      My one question is whether your father’s rates as a physician fluctuated or did he relegate that only to his hobby?

  8. Patricia(ha ha ), you don’t need a pool, just one guy, usually…Yes, well, when I was 14, Canada decided to introduce OHIP, which socialized medical care…We went from being a hot shot wealthy family, to being kind of civil servants…His hobby became his escape…You can’t alter rates in a socialized system…It was boring for him…

  9. Lots of fellow photographers tried to persuade me that the online space was prohibitively overcrowded as a place to market and sell work; “I made nothing in 6 months so packed it in” etc. 6 months! Of course it didn’t take off yet! Persevering has been well worth it and made freelancing possible for me. Turns out most of that competition isn’t too hot on marketing and doesn’t read blogs like this!

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