A few months back, I gave advice for hiring a consultant for your art career. I said that if you're going to spend money on a consultant, you should understand what you want to get out of the relationship–you should know exactly what you want.
Michael Newberry took issue in a comment. He said there have been times in his career when he's been totally clueless and wouldn't even know where to begin. He thought it would be of great service to artists to help them understand what they want.
If you are in the dark about what you want from your art, perhaps these 9 pieces of advice might help.
- Don't quit your day job! You need money coming in while you're figuring all of this out. If you don't have a day job, go get one.
- Spend more time in the studio. If you have an inkling that the life of a professional artist might be for you, you'd better be in the studio consistently. You must be making art.
- Take more studio classes. Work through all of the artmaking problems you can think of. Then tackle some more.
- Attend business classes. Find out what it takes to own your own business.
- Talk to other artists for the same reason: to find out what it takes. Ask them about their studio practices, their highs and lows, and how they make a living.
- Read artist biographies and art non-fiction. Forget anything you read about alcoholism and drug use. You don't need either to thrive as an artist. Pay attention to the artists' paths.
- Watch art documentaries to be inspired.
- Figure out exactly how much money you need to survive and save and what that means. How much work would you need to sell? How many students do you need to enroll? Can you meet those demands?
- Search your soul. Are you prepared for rejection? Are you okay with failing a lot before you succeed? Do you have the emotional support you need? Are you ready to work your butt off?
What did I forget?