Sometimes you find opportunities in unusual places. The art world is notoriously unpredictable, full of people who act in irrational ways. The positive side of this can produce creativity and innovation, but the negative looks like chaos. Gallerists ask for submissions but never respond. Prestigious art prizes for “emerging artists” go to well-established people. Robots create prize-winning art.
How does an artist stay sane in the face of all this? It might be easier, and feel safer, for you to keep your distance, especially if you have a low tolerance for risk. But when you let down your barriers and learn to navigate the chaos, you sometimes discover unexpected opportunities.
Recently a photographer found (on Facebook) a call for artists to show their work at an exhibition in France. The actual process of getting connected to the show’s organizers was full of confusion, missed signals, long silences, and logistical challenges. At the last minute she had to get her photographs printed in Germany so they could be shipped to France in time. She was tempted to give up, but she kept pushing through. Finally it all turned into a successful solo exhibition, a triumph in both sales and visibility.
If you’re at a point in your career where traditional methods are not producing results, you may need to start breaking your own rules. Consider opportunities outside your comfort zone. Reach out as broadly as possible, exploring new avenues of connection, both online and off. Use your personal and professional networks in creative ways. Tell everyone what you want and need.
By embracing the chaos of the art world, instead of resisting it, you may identify a hidden path that is right for you. Don’t be afraid to see what’s out there!
Mary Edwards, Ph.D
Career & Life Coach for Artists
“Left Brain Skills for Right Brained People”
As an artist coach, I bring a unique combination of business knowledge, art world experience, and professional coaching skill to my practice.