In 2 Words: How To Make Money From Your Art

Hi! I’m Crista Cloutier of The Working
Artist Masterclass if you’ve been following me on Facebook lately you will know that I have publicly committed to doing Facebook Live. However I am in
France for the next few months, in the middle of nowhere in France as it turns
out, and it seems that the internet in the middle of nowhere in France is slow,
really slow, like too slow to do a Facebook Live. I’m just one great big
pixel – and nobody likes that. So I am going to just make a video instead and post it
and we will see how that goes. OK? Last month I was in London and I was meeting with a group of Working Artist alumni. I travel a lot obviously, and I love
meeting the artists who have taken my online course because I think that
online is fantastic but real life is so much better. Right? Anyway there was a lot of conversation during this coffee and we were talking about making money and
finding success by working as an artist And one of the artists asked me directly
“how can I make more money working as an artist?” I’m not sure anyone really liked
my answer but they all agreed that it was the truth. I said two words I said
“focus and discipline.” Nobody likes those two words, do they? Well I’m just the
messenger so I didn’t make this stuff up What do I mean by focus? I know a lot of
you are in love with creativity with The Muse, you love to explore and make and
learn and play it’s is part of being a creative person, and I love that stuff
too. It’s important. However, if your aim is to make money then you really do need
to focus – whether it’s on one style or one medium or even both, the
more focused you are the easier it will be to connect with your audience and
sell your work. How? It’s about sharing your message. The more focused your
message, the more focused your audience. My cat’s just climbing up a tree…
People will know who you are, people will know who you are and they will
understand what you do. Speaking of focus I should be focused on this and not on
my cat … anyway I wanted to talk about the artist William Wegman for a minute now.
This is someone whom I’ve worked with and I’ve known for many years. And if you
don’t know his name, I am sure that you know his work. He’s photographed his
Weimaraner dogs and has made a massive career out of doing this for nearly five
decades. He’s got licensing deals worth millions,
he’s had dozens of books printed, he’s got galleries around the world, and he
has shown in nearly every major museum internationally. Let me ask you a
question, do you think that William Wegman started out thinking that
photographing his dogs would be creatively fulfilling for the rest of
his career? The answer is no, he did not. In fact, he told me that he was really
worried when he started, he didn’t want to become known as ‘the dog guy.’ He
enjoyed making videos and photographing but in his heart he’s also a painter and
he wanted to explore other subject matter too. In fact, he quit photographing
his dogs for quite a while but he learned that it was this work with his
dogs was really a blessing and by going back to it and exploring it as
deeply as he could, which is really pretty deep if you consider his nearly
50-year career, he was able to use this one subject
to explore social and cultural issues that interested him. Not only that, but
this work would eventually afford him the time to do the painting and the
other creative work unrelated to dogs His paintings are wonderful. I love them,
but not many people have seen them. There just isn’t a huge market for this work. But does he curse the paintings? Does he curse the dogs? Sorry… my cat
just went crazy.. he focuses on them and he has built a massive career that allows him
to have a satisfying love affair with The Muse with absolutely no pressure or
expectations. Do you see how that works? If you want to make money from your art,
you need to focus. If I want to get through this video, I need to focus. Okay,
let’s look at money for a minute because a lot of you tell me that you want to
make money from your art, a lot of money in fact. But when I ask you why, the
answer often isn’t about financial need. It’s about what you think money
represents. There’s this belief out there that making money from your art means
that you have talent. It does not. It means that the market has
found this work worthy. But come on, we all know artists who are making money
but don’t have talent or vision. I’m not gonna name names, and we all know artists
who are incredibly talented but they don’t make money at all – because money
does not validate your talent. The work itself validates your talent. We happen
to live in a society that tells us that our self-worth should only be measured
by our net worth. I would suggest that it’s part of an artist job to refuse to
bow to this kind of false value measurement, to bring these kinds of
limiting assumptions into question for yourself and for
others. It’s part of your job to form a relationship with your Muse and your
work that does not allow for outside validation but instead it nourishes you
from within. In fact, I believe that this is one way that artists are gonna save
the world. So what I’m saying is that it’s okay to make money from your art
but it’s not okay to measure your value or your talent by your bank account nor
anyone else’s value or talent. But let’s go back to how we do make money because
let’s face it, we all have to eat. Right? And if you want to use your creativity
to make the money you need to pay your rent or to put food on your table or to
pay your bills, then you do need to focus. You also need to develop discipline. So
what do I mean by discipline? I mean doing the work; getting into the studio
religiously doing the administrative work religiously, participating in your
artist community, putting the time and energy into the business of your
creativity. I’m not talking about struggling. In fact, I believe that you
can succeed without struggling or even striving, but you do need to focus and to
be consistent. Listen if you want to create a business around your creativity
I’m telling you that I have known many many commercially successful artists and
the two things that they all have in common are focus and discipline. So while
focus and discipline may not be your favorite words, the good news is that
success is in your hands. Let me ask you a question, have you checked out The
Working Artist Masterclass yet? If your answer is no, I invite
you to visit my website at Go ahead and sign up for my
weekly newsletter because I send out a lot of helpful information each week and
… here’s my cat… and you’ll also learn about my premium programs and how I work
with artists. So thank you so much and au revoir until next time

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