Art = Work

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All my life I have been told that “if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life”.  Now I am going to tell you a big scary truth: this is some rich person “I can hire a person for that” bullshit.  No matter what you do in life there will be shitty parts of that job.  I’m an artist, I make art and objects by using handcrafts that I LOVE doing.  I love woodworking, I love working with leather, I love clay, I love drawing, and I love designing new pasties but everything I do is work.  I do not love expense reports, or trying to figure out what in the actual fuck taxes are (this is a constant struggle).  Both the things I love and the things that I do begrudgingly are all work.  I work at drawing.  My woodworking and leather crafting skills are EONS better than they originally were because I work on them.  

The idea that doing what I love would mean never feeling like I was working was probably the most detrimental belief that I ever held in terms of progress for my business.  I avoided starting working in wood because it was something I was going to have to work at; the same can be said for leather.  If you don’t work you will never improve.  Natural talent is bullshit.  Ability is a muscle you have to exercise or you will stagnate.  In our current artisan culture a lack of innovation and improvement year to year will lead to stagnation and stagnation is paramount to death.

 

I speak to a lot of people who say things like “Oh I have a creative business but it had to be put on a back burner no one has booked me in years and I don’t know why”, or “oh that’s a cute hobby”.  These both relate back to the idea that creative jobs aren’t going to work.  Yes a solid chunk of my job is drawing or crafting.  But I also spend a lot of time promoting myself, networking, improving my skills, and forcing my foot in the door to carve out a space for myself.  That’s why I say I own my own business not I’m an artist.  There is so much more to what I do than art.  A successful business is not created by making a facebook page and making a post every once in awhile.  Any successful business, even if it’s what you love, is work, real hard work that you won’t always want to do.  

 

Now I am not successful yet; but I regularly watch my old classmates and friends launch businesses only to fail a few months later.  Telling people that doing what you love means not working is the reason that a lot of creative endeavors won’t survive their first year.  Work your ass off, improve your craft, and do your fucking paperwork.  

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