I’m fascinated by the role of serendipity in an artist’s career. That unexpected, unplanned piece of luck that just happens, at the right moment, and opens a door to a wider world.
Recently a mid-career artist was on her way to a residency and got bumped up to first class on a crowded flight. She gratefully accepted her new seat, nodded at the man next to her, and quickly opened her laptop to signal that she was not up for a chat.
A little later he glanced at images on her screen, apologized for the interruption and asked, “are you an artist?” A long conversation began, as he turned out to be a curator and consultant, an influential and well-connected person she never would have met in her ordinary life. He was also generous, and ended up introducing her to several key people who had been beyond her reach.
As we talked about her “lucky break,” I began to think about how serendipity happens. One of the artist’s goals was to expand and develop her professional network. She had been talking to a variety of people in many fields, exploring how her work was connected to ideas in the arts and sciences. She hadn’t yet been able to break through to higher level influencers, but these preliminary conversations had made her confident, articulate, and easily able to engage with her impressive seatmate.
Serendipity often arrives at the moment when you are ready. You’ve created innovative work; you believe in yourself and your art; you’re immersed in what matters most to you. Then sometimes you can let go, and the universe will briefly open one of its magic doors to give you what you need to keep going.
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.