What Do You Like LEAST About Being An Artist?

Quite recently I read through the interesting post by Christopher Burdett about " why artists do what they do", its a huge post interviewing several artists and professionals from the industry about their motivations behind being an artist.

The first thing I read, was the answers to the question: "What do you like LEAST about being an artist?"
And find it intriguing, that a lot responses shows a big aversion against the "business side" or the paperwork.

Note: I´m not looking at this to see how bad someone is at something, rather I try to find what problems are out there, what can be solved?

I also did a poll about this matter here, to go through each topic with a different blog post, this one is dedicated to help with the business aspects of being an artist. 

We should not judge people by how they deal with the things they hate, but if you turn any aversion into the opposite, you´re up for a win.

Seth Godin has a very nice post about that matter:

The worst moments are your best opportunity

That's how we judge you and how we remember you.

Its indeed a great opportunity to tell people how you have dealt with something that most people hate. In my case, well, I do not love the business side and paperwork, but I embrace it, everyday more.
Every signed contract is a bliss.
Since I started to work in a career as full time freelance artist, I understand how important this aspect is in my daily life and now I see it just like color-theory or a new software that I can use to optimize a workflow.
Even if we are not aware of it and a lot people do not know how to utilize it right, blogging is also a business aspect and part of promotion, but in my case, I turned the blog into a personal thing to have more fun and less pressure.
Marketing is also a part that most artists hate, I grew a personal interest in how to develop marketing that actually works for artists.
When it comes to communication, a lot peole are afraid to get direct responses from the clients and prefer an agent as a middleman, who knows which words they have to use in order to keep the artist going.
I skip this part, I enjoy honest clients who know what they want and even more if they can articulate their desires directly to me. Thats the reason I appreciate to work with authors directly in most cases.
What many artists forget is another important thing:
When they are sitting in their studio, office, whatsoever, they imagine a commission as a long neverending task that is just tiring and one-sided. always with the client in mind.
But reality is: its communication and its two-sided!
And even if you are locked in your studio, this doesn´t mean you cannot deliver a performance like an actor. You guess what? Clients expect a performance!
Not directly related to the one you´ll most likely see in a theatre, but close.
See it just like this, the process of a commission can be a wonderful experience and enlightenment for both, but it can be also a dull experience that buries creativity faster than an eagle can say good bye to a stealth fighter.
But it has not to look like that. You are the actor and opposed to an actor you are even an artist, you can put a certain amount of control into a communication by articulating authority.

And to come back to the actual topic of how to deal with the paperwork, lets face it: most business CEO´s would really love to change with the little paperwork artists have to do. And probably can´t understand why any artist is bothering about 1-2 hours a week of that.

I do not have fixed times for that, since its always depending on the workload, but there are weeks where I have to deal with 3 contracts at once and I deal with them like with a bunch of emails: I go through them, one by one in a row. This can for sure take up a hour or two, but after this time I can focus again on the work that matters.
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Oliver aka Fantasio is a creative blogger who likes to share his insights about art, marketing and social media. Follow Fantasio on twitter or facebook


  1. Making a living as a commercial artist requires promotion and paperwork. Trying to have fun doing it is the only way to handle it :)



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