Starting Artist Advice
My advice to young and old artists alike looking to make money from their number one passion: learn the business side. As early as possible.
My Hard Lesson
I have a Bachelors in Fine Arts. The road through college was a long and bumpy one. Nine years long. As for the bumps: I never really had a plan on my way through college. I liked taking art classes, even ones that didn’t apply to my degree. I also liked learning a visual language: American sign language. At a point I thought I could graduate with a double degree in fine arts and ASL. I took every ASL class I could without having to be a member of their interpreting program. When it was time to fight for my seat in the program I had lost interest in it as a profession; I went through the interview and application process half-heartedly. I continued to use the language in my day job as an educator.
Advice to My Younger Self
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to drop the sign language and take business classes with my art classes. At 30 I finally seriously started to look into and learn the business side of art. I am 35 now and finally think Like I am “getting it.” It is not that I regret taking sign language. It is that it just isn’t for me. Ultimately, my dream has always been to be a self-sufficient artist and sign language doesn’t really have a place in that: I am not an active member of Deaf culture or deaf social circles, and I no longer work for or with them.
The Last Few Years
It was upon meeting my partner in life, who is also an artist, that my dream was fully realized. Being a professional artist is what we both want and seek now in life. A part of me wishes I had gotten a head start back in my college days, instead of learning the professional side of artistry on the fly and for free through hard research.