While busy with seasonal activities I have been mulling on a question that was recently posed to me – and I have been surprised by my response. It is a very individual question and I encourage you to consider your own answer.
The question was ‘How do I define success; what does it look like, for me?’
My initial reply was something like this:
Regularly making new and exciting artwork and writing that enough people buy, at a price that will provide a sustainable income, on which I can live comfortably (allowing time to create more exciting artwork and writing).
As I prepared for Christmas, I thought some more and added:
*Having people seek my work and mention it to others.
*Being approached to exhibit my work in galleries.
*Having my own proper studio space.
*Receiving positive reviews of my work.
*For my art to be in homes around the world.
*Patrons following my career and collecting my art.
*Being sought to run workshops.
*Successful applications for funding.
*Being part of a strong network of Arts people.
Oh! I have left out one of the most important markers of my success i.e.
People choosing to spend time with the works I create; not just looking for the hidden four leafed clover in my Mind Drawings, but also finding their own interpretations in the many possible narratives contained in each.
And then when a viewer becomes inspired to actively participate, finding the courage to make their own marks, and discovering (or remembering) the joy of exploring and creating – the childlike freedom of play.
*Having a clear workable business plan that I am following.
*Having an exciting website that people will visit and return to and tell others about because they find it useful, inspiring, informative and fun.
*Having my own broadly recognised brand.
*Being paid an appropriate amount for my work.
*Having my work accessible to others in some form (with due accreditation).
*Having the freedom to develop my work and explore other genres and mediums.
*Continuing to learn and apply.
*Keeping my work exciting and contemporary.
*Being able to travel for researching and creating more art.
*Finding a satisfying balance with the different branches of my Arts practice, especially writing and visual arts. And a good balance between Arts and home life.
*And keeping excellent health so I may continue to produce art in the way I want to.
But here is what surprised me: I can already tick every single point in the second last paragraph above, except having a ‘proper’ studio. So I realised I also needed to quantify the magnitude of each point in my list.
I also realised I should acknowledge the degree of success I have already achieved at this early part my Arts journey. I have further to go, but I am on the right path.
And the end of the year is a good time to stop and look back, to determine what worked and what did not; to take stock and refuel – and especially, to appreciate the view from this vantage point.
Breathe … relax … enjoy … let creativity flow … ideas form … and reshape …