This question has been keeping me up late at night. I wake up thinking about it and now I am determined to find the answer, because simply; I don’t know. But it is literally my job to find out. As an artist I need to find creative ways to capitalize on my talents. I always thought it would be easy once you learn to excel at the skill of painting. It is a no brainer, right? You work every day, you go out in the world and you meet people who want to buy your art. Nope.
There are many courses these days that promise to teach you how to be a professional painter and make money, or at least how to grab the attention of the art scene, the potential buyers or colleagues. With the precision of a rocket scientist and the enthusiasm of the most cheerful person you might know, I have been following every step available to me. First I went from gallery to gallery in the heart of Sarasota, in the heart of Miami, in Wynwood, everywhere I thought I would have a chance to hang my work on the walls.
After my self confidence took a beating, I thought; “Whatever they are saying, this is not making me very happy.” I self-published many books, wrote blogs, stories about my paintings and sent them to magazines and art shows but nobody seemed to care. I organized exhibitions, went to art fairs, dragged my work to empty walls wherever I could find them. Some people think success is a matter of traveling the same path year after year until you finally meet the person who cares. I don’t believe this. If I keep this going for another year, there will be nothing left of my original uplifted energy. There has to be another way. It is not enough to follow the business models of others. That won’t work for me.
Somebody told me that the “Law of Attraction” works for everybody. So I have been sitting in meditation for weeks now envisioning my ideal contact who is going to help me get a showing for the 300 paintings rolled up under my bed. I don’t think I’m coming up with an answer. I made a list of all options I could think of and I worked diligently at the list until I felt I was completely at the end of all the possibilities. I was literally running out of fuel.
I woke up one morning and decided I would sell an easel. I have many, so I wouldn’t miss one. I photographed it and put it on Craig’s list for $30. A couple of weeks later I got a phone call from a woman who wanted to buy it. She walked into my life like a fresh breath of air. She was retired but still energetic, wanted to learn to paint, but above all, she had a gallery and was crazy about my work. We talked like old friends and she opened a whole new door for me.
Later in the day I thought about this Dutch expression, “How Does a Cow Catch a Hare?” which means “You never know how the almost impossible is going to happen. You never know your luck” The expression in English is something like; “A blind man may sometimes hit the crow”, which is not as funny as the picture of a cow running through a meadow after a hare. The most important part of the story is that an artist, all artists, needs to find their own unique way of finding the people they want to meet. There is absolutely no business model, nobody who can tell them how to succeed, other than learning to follow their inner voice.
Sometimes that inner voice tells you the weirdest things you can imagine. That is how the most unusual situations have happened and took care of the biggest growth. We humans know consciously so little but our subconscious mind knows exactly how to get somewhere fast. This is why it can be very liberating to give it all up and say, “I don’t know, anymore.” I don’t know how a cow catches a hare. All I know it that magic does happen.