Week 9 of this blogging challenge has got me thinking…
Question: Who interests me enough, as an artist, that I would want to buy everything that he or she has to offer?
Answer: There aren’t a large number of people in this camp for me, personally. As an artist myself, that’s probably not a bad thing – because I have to be careful about how I spend my money. In this economy, don’t we all?
Beyond this question: Can I think of an artist who consistently creates work that I like and would want to buy?
Yes, but… truth be told, even my favorite artists don’t always hit the mark for me. Hmmm. The plot thickens.
If I could imagine an artist, who might exist, who consistently creates work that I like and who succeeds in getting his or her wares, to me, so that I can purchase them – what would that look like?
I feel a need to posit these ideas in imaginary terms – because, if I can isolate the things that might make me want to partake in an artists’ career on a consistent basis (ie. buy stuff from him or her… ), maybe I can formulate an approach that will feel right for me.
Enter: The Imaginary Artist of Week 9
[I’m going to make her a woman – so, that I don’t have to keep saying he or she… and I’m basing her on some of my favorite artists.]
1. She would come from a standpoint of humility. Her artistic voice would be subtle and yet profound. Something about her would strike me as honest and authentic and her work would resonate for me personally. Primarily, she would have insight to offer about life.
2. She would have a musical talent and musical sensibility that hits my ears the right way.
3. She would speak “artistically” and “commercially” when she has something to say.
4. She would be friendly and consistently active, in her communications with her listeners, but always with an air of generosity. It’s a subtle thing. [ I’ve read many emails from artists. Some strike me as fundamentally giving, others as, well, not so giving… ]
5. She would be creative in offering products, besides music, that would resonate with her overall message.
6. She would be a part of a community of artists. This could take many forms. I find it appealing when artists are a part of something beyond themselves. This might include a fundraiser or charity event or a supportive collaboration. It makes it that much more appealing, to me, to hear an artist is involved in a community of people who are putting their talents to some use beyond simply fostering a career.
7. She would, likely, have a side-line career as well. Most of us, out here, have to have something else to help pay the bills. From time to time, it would be interesting to hear about the struggles, the checks and balances involved in an artistic life. I always like to hear the gritty details – because, as we know, this life ain’t always easy…
8. She would communicate about “works in progress” and find creative ways to show them so that they might invite support from listeners.
9. She would get out there and play gigs.
10. She would create a unique body of work worthy of interest and word-of-mouth.
So, with all of that said, I’ve got a lot of things to add to my list. Ariel’s book shows it as a funnel. I think it’s a good metaphor and image to hold onto. I continue to think of it all as a process – a way of living.
Ariel began Week 9’s chapter with an admission that she’s a “business book junkie.” In my life, I’ve been an junkie for books about artists lives; biographies, auto-biographies, biographical novels, books on artistic process, books on songwriting, books on the music business, books of poetry, literary criticism, interviews with artists, you name it…
The 3 books have been among the most useful to me – real life-changers – are these:
“Creating A Life Worth Living” by Carol Lloyd
“Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott
“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron
I’m currently reading the incredible biographical novel, “Lust for Life” by Irving Stone, about the life of Vincent Van Gogh. Wow.
I’ll close this post with a promise to continue this blog. I began blogging as part of this challenge – but I have enjoyed it so much that I’ll continue to post here, once a week, indefinitely. What began as a task, that I set for myself, has turned into a mode of expression for which I am very thankful.
Thank you so much, Ariel, for the invitation to enter this world.