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The list for stage 5 agreed with my mentor; the first stage of getting things started in becoming a full time artist.

Date: Sun 2.9.18

Time: 12.04 pm

Mood: On safer and steadier ground..

So my new temporary home studio has been finished over the past few weeks and is ready to paint in. I have been converting part of the garage into a studio space, having recently moved out of my studios in the city centre as the building is being sold. I have also recently started a new part time job in the past two weeks involving doing decorative crafts for another artist. Happy to say I’m really enjoying this and it will definitely help my income. It’s the first job I’ve found for a good few years that is on a self employed basis – so my earnings will go towards what I make annually as an artist.

‘Busy Work’ and Blocks of Focused Time..

The the past 3 or 4 weeks have been hectic, really starting from moving out of my old studio, starting the new job and lots of family issues, as well as still working days at my local handmade shop – so not really having time to start any new work – although I have been making lots of notes. In my last post I talked about ‘busy work’ – and I still feel strongly that ‘busy’ work has been taking up a lot of my time in the past – and in starting this new chapter one of my aims is to have a time and a place for ‘busy work’ whilst blocking amounts of time during the week for ‘serious’, professional work.

What I mean by ‘busy work’ is the work that makes you feel like you’re busy but that in fact, doesn’t have any bearing on your progress or goals. I also call this ‘easy work’. For instance my busy work in the past has been cutting things out, making badges, making packaging, cards, and business cards, sorting, tidying and organising, printing things etc, or doing bits of this each day.  This has included spending days making things or framing things for the handmade shop that haven’t sold. This might seem like I’m being a bit harsh on myself as often I’ve had to make my own products because of the costs of other companies doing it for you – and I will probably still have to make some of my own things. However I think I need to set a time and a place for it; for instance evenings after work when I have less energy. Then leaving my full days towards the end of the week for ‘serious work’.

Overall I feel it needs to be a mixture of blocking the right time for things and thinking first and being savvy from the past on what will or won’t work and take up too much time. Also not trying to do 10 things in one day, but maybe one day just doing one thing and something else in the evening. I have recently learned this from the company I’ve started work at over the past few weeks; The key to PROGRESS is periods of FOCUSED WORK. I think there also needs to be a LIMIT on the time I spend on commercial things for shops at the moment. Trying to sell art or even prints and cards in Wolverhampton at the moment is very difficult because of the poor economy in the city. I know from my mentors, successful artists I’ve spoken to and even the sculptress I work for – they all agree that the key to selling art is OUTSIDE of Wolverhampton and surrounding areas – you have to be brave enough to take the leap to do this – otherwise you won’t get anywhere.  So this should be my eventual goal and I know this. But unfortunately I seem to keep getting caught up in the sellers at the shop and my sales there. The handmade shops I’m in – will sell things but they’re never going to make me a huge living however hard you try – so just a PORTION of my focus needs to be on that – the rest of my focus needs to be on the scary stuff.

The Scary Stuff..

Most of the ‘scary stuff’ lies in doing the things my mentor and I agreed on to do in order to give me head start as a full time artist, which is the list above. Also a few tasks my friend Sarah (another fine artist) set me to do a few months ago, such as submitting work to galleries and asking for feedback; of which I have started to put together a list. I have done some of the above tasks now, including talking to the first artist, getting a creative job. Additionally this week I have also applied to the university’s AA2A scheme (Access 2 Art Colleges) in order to aid me to fulfil a few of the other tasks on ‘Step 5’ such as starting a decent body of work and doing a ‘Pecha Kucha’ style talk. I won’t know whether I’ve got onto this scheme until the 12th September, however it involves 100 hours access to the university’s facilities including printmaking department, photography, library and woodworking facilities and more – which would help no end in gaining higher quality artist materials and resources to work with. There is also a small amount of student interaction required, and I have suggested I do a talk on being a self employed artist/my journey so far or Q&A sessions.

So this has been a very long catch up on my activities and thoughts from the past few weeks! Join me next time where I will hopefully have started some new work, and have more news and rambles!

Thankyou for reading, and as always, comments and feedback are welcome.