So, as an Artist there may be certain words that may send your Creative Free Spirit running for the door. I find that 3 of the words that seem to do this, when I first mention them to my Creative and Artist clients, are: Commitment, Drive, and Discipline.
After working with tons of Artists over the years I have become pretty clear that how successful an Artist becomes will be based, to some degree, on how much they have these qualities. This is not to say that these are the only qualities. Other qualities, such as passion, resilience, courage, etc. are found in most successful artists also … but these three are critical in my opinion.
I think it all starts with COMMITMENT. A commitment to what you ask? There are perhaps many points of commitment and commitments to many different things along the way, but it starts usually when we make THE BIG commitment to our self be an Artist. Notice I said to our self. Make no mistake about it: this commitment is between you and you. This commitment is also the foundation behind a whole series of other commitments that can come after it such as the commitment to: develop our skills and talents, produce x amount of pieces a year, become successful, etc.
DRIVE, for me, is the determination and desire that is takes to achieve what we want. It is the push, from inside of us, to make things happen. Fueled by our commitment, our drive gets created and that is the thing that becomes the force behind the ‘no-matter-what’ that has us keep at it. It is the foundation of ‘no-tolerance’ for anything less than what we want.
Finally there is DISCIPLINE … a word that occurs sooooooo distasteful to so many of us who are creative because we think that when discipline shows up that creativity has to exit the stage. Not true! Discipline is what it takes to: practice our skills day after day, stay consistent with the time we put into your art, learn new things constantly, market and sell our self and our work, take critiques and feedback and apply it, etc. Discipline does not negate creativity … it enhances it. Discipline has us handle things that need to get handled so we can be freed up to focus on our creativity.
If we mix all of these qualities together then we have a super spicy sauce that, when mixed with other ingredients, like resilience, courage, passion and talent, will allow us to excel more quickly and increases our chances of not only obtaining but also maintaining the success we want.
Speaking of talent … did I just say that talent is just another ingredient? Yes! I know that so often we act like talent is king but anyone can increase their talent. And what does that take? Try on Commitment, Drive and Discipline. I think with those 3 qualities in place you will do whatever it takes to increase your talent. However, show me someone with talent and not the other 3 and I make no bets on their success.
Take a look at your development as an Artist. Look at the different arenas such as: your skills, your talent, the business of your Art, etc. Is it where you want it to be? Which areas aren’t? Rate you on your commitment, drive and discipline on a scale of 1 -1o (1 being NONE of the characteristic & 10 being the most you can imagine possible) for each area and/or your overall career as an Artist. Allow yourself to be straight with you and get clean about which of these qualities are missing.
Do you find room for improvement in any of all of these qualities? Any of them less than a 10? Great … then it is time to work on it and take it up a notch (or 2 or 3). Once we can see something missing, and we are no longer blind to it, then we can go about finding ways to build it in. Study how to improve it, study others who have it, find someone to guide you, etc. The funny thing about these qualities is that you probably will need to apply them even to the game of improving them. The challenge is on!
I find nothing juicier in the game of being an Artist than creating ourselves to become whatever we want! We are one of our most important works of Art, I think. Creating ourselves is like the ultimate creation that impacts all of our other creations. I invite you to add Commitment, Drive and Discipline to your personal creation of you today!
I also invite you to share with me/us about your thoughts or feedback on this and any insights or experiences you may have or have had with these qualities and how it has impacted your Art. It is always great and inspiring to engage with you …
An artist does need to have a whole lot of perseverance as well. I never decided to become an artist, I just have become one.
As the artist I’ve become, I’m always reaching out to others in their artistic abilities to help further my artistic accomplishments. Art has always been apart of my spiritual journey as I further develop my own artistic style. I enjoy the challenges of art and have visions of great successes! Fantastic article Kym Dolci! Thank you!
Thank you, Christina. Love that you reach out to others … another really key component of success!!! I also am inspired by you knowing Art as part of your spiritual journey … it always has been for me too. Sending you brilliant light to keep shining on you and your path!
Jacqueline — YOU are so correct … perseverance is a quality that is much needed along out journey!!! Thank you so much for the contribution!!!
I love to create art for the art of it. However, needing to pay for my supplies I am often torn between painting for the consumer and painting what I want. I believe I’ve been able to do both and have gained a small following for my work.
Perseverance is key, I need to be working in my studio several days a week. While I am there I am in solitude.
SJ – Perseverance is indeed sooooo key & I think you have hit on several other key qualities such as creating solitude for ourselves and studio time 🙂 Congrats on being able to do both (art for the sake of art & art for others) … that is a sweet spot that comes with practice and many Artists never reach a comfort zone with that! Thank you so much for participating here for us!!
As I navigate through this Artist’s Life, your words ring true! So many people think if you are artistic, then you have all you need, you should be selling your work right & left. Those qualities you mentioned (as well as the perseverance Jacqueline mentions!) are SO vital to making a living and I think even more so if that’s what you are striving to do full-time. Thank you for the reminder and the kick in the butt! 🙂
Lisa – Thanks for taking the reminder as a kick in the butt & running with it & for joining in on the conversation with your thoughts for us 🙂 I remember as a fresh little Artist out of Art School I thought it would just “happen” … LOL … then I found that it CAN happen but not without my constant focus on it and appropriate work towards it. Let’s go do what we need to do so we can sell left & right I say!!!
I was born with a passion to be an Artist.
However, surrounded by a society that tells you,” You have to have a real job, Artist dont nake any money. How will you pay your bills?”
I have been a single mom for 28 years. Struggling working, going to school to earn a degree. Now with my B.S. degree, my children grown, now it is my turn. My chance to commit to my dream of being a money making Artist. Lets do this!!!
Joanne – BIG Congrats to you on rolling with all that you had on your plate for the last 28 years … I am always so in respect & awe of those who are raising children along with moving their lives forward!!! AND I am clear it IS YOUR TIME!!!! WHooooooooooooHooooooooooo … so go rock it!!! Artist CAN & DO make money. It takes something (but, so does it for anyone who is an entrepreneur) … AND it is so worth it! There are lots of people & resources out here to point you along – use them up. Sending you brilliant light to shine on your path.
It is wonderful to read you all. Such a good vibe!. I’m as well an artist and work with my husband in the creation of spaces that people can interact with and be a part of it. We are completing an amphitheater in Japan with an acoustic shell made out of 60 tons of clay and fired to 1250 celsius degrees. It has taken us 16 years, it is like our third child. That is what art is to me, the art that I can create with my husband and that survives, grows and transform thorough the years. Yes Kim all of what you mention and mostly in our case perseverance and inclusiveness. We have worked with more than a 2000 volunteers and we have to welcome and let go many people that come to be part of the piece. Thank you! It is always great to read you!
Ximena – WOW … what an amazing sounding project your third child has been I am sure. With over 2000 volunteers I can only begin to imagine what how inclusiveness was VERY VERY key. I commend you on 16 years of dedication and am thrilled for you that it is completing and about to begin it’s new phase of growth. Thank you so much for letting us know the qualities that counted the most for you and for participating so we could learn from you, Ximena!!!
Kim it is always great to read you. We need artist with human quality like yourself. Hopefully some day we will be able to share in person as women, as artists and as human beings. Tell me where can we see your work. Ours is in our website stevenanddximena.com
Ximina – Thank you for sharing your website – it was fabulous to see what you and Steven have been up to & great to “see” a photo of you! Right now I create Art for me (photography, painting & poetry mostly) vs. others so I do not have a place where my art lives on-line at the moment – I am deciding what is next for my art. My true Art for several years has been empowering other Artists … an Art that gives me tremendous pleasure and allows me to give back to other Artists in gratitude for all that was given me along the way. Thank you for asking. I am pleased to be connected with you!