I am frequently on the receiving end of artists' complaints about all of the computer work they have to do. Write your artist statement, update your résumé, respond to email.
Then there’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and organizing photos for those sites as well as your email newsletter. You know the list.
Yes, there is a lot of digital work that is required of today’s artists. And aren’t you lucky to have these free or low-cost tools that artists two decades ago didn’t have to share their art? (It’s a good idea to remember this now and then.)
In some instances, I find that artists who spend excessive amounts of time on the computer are doing so at the peril of their artwork.
In other words, they're unconsciously doing it to avoid the studio work. And, let's face it: The studio work is the harder work.
I don’t care how much you say you enjoy making art. When the pressure is on to show and sell your work, the creative process can be brutal.
It’s super easy to type, respond to comments, and “like” other people’s posts. You could waste all kinds of time doing that and that’s exactly what you’d be doing. Wasting time.
Don’t get me wrong: You can’t avoid these tasks entirely. But your days should be heavily weighted toward making art.
Are you using your computer work as an excuse to avoid engaging with your more important work?
You Are Not Alone
Please know that when you’re struggling to make art, you are not alone. All artists have phases that are more successful for creating than others.
It’s when the phase becomes your modus operandi that it is no longer acceptable. If you haven’t worked in the studio for days or weeks, things must change.
Quote Me On This
I’ve said the following on many occasions, but it bears repeating.
Without the art, you are not an artist.
Without the art, you have nothing to market. You have no business.
You can't “sorta” be an artist. You either make art or you don’t make art.
Artists make art.
Don’t Let Me Distract You
My job is to help you build a business from your artwork and expand your career. I write about strategies and ideas to help you on the journey.
Your job isn’t to drop everything and start implementing what I write.
Your first job is in the studio. Always.
If you have an outside day job and you’re trying to get an art career off the ground, the studio is your priority during the hours that you have available.
It doesn't make any difference that your studio is the kitchen table. It’s the place where you make art and you’d better be there most of the time.
Waiting around for the perfect studio space is just an excuse. Artists build, paint, draw, mold, assemble or fashion wherever they are because, as I said above, they’re artists.
When You Aren’t Making Art
If you find yourself getting bogged down in computer work when you should be working with your craft, remember these words: Artists make art.
Go in the studio even when you don’t know what you’re going to make. BE with your art and materials.
Smell the paint or wood, watch a photo slideshow, feel the clay, or organize your beads.
Don’t wait for inspiration. Go. Do. The. Work.
It’s why you’re here.
Remember that every artist struggles with making art at one point or another. How do you deal with it?
This post was originally published on February 23, 2017 and has been updated with original comments intact.