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How to Stand in Your Power as an Artist

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How to Stand in Your Power as an Artist with Surface Pattern Designer Bonnie Christine

Opening my mailbox one day in 2012, I found a letter from my mother: "Bonnie, when your dreams come true, mine will too. All my love, mama."

These words, full of hope and anticipation, came just a few months before I signed my first contract as a fabric designer. Today, I reflect upon that journey and how vital it is to stand tall in one's creative pursuits, even when the world hesitates to take you seriously.


The Weight of a Dream

The early days of chasing my dream were marked by self-doubt. Sharing my aspirations felt daunting, almost silly. Yet, I chose to confide in my mother and husband, David, because their unwavering support became the bedrock upon which I built my dream. For anyone at the threshold of a big dream, choose wisely whom you let in early on. Your dream's fragile beginnings deserve nurturers, not naysayers.

I fully believe that it is the dreamers and the doers who have the courage to make a difference in this world. It takes courage to step out and do something differently.

I'll never forget the time when I was filling out paperwork at the doctor's office, and I had to list my occupation. I'll always remember the day that I said, I am an artist on my paperwork.

Though they probably didn’t care, I said it with confidence for the first time. I know that it can be a little bit tricky or difficult to make your friends and family take you seriously, convincing them that you are serious about pursuing a career in something that's creative.

But I want to help you stand in your power and stand in your confidence of being whatever it is that you want to be, even when people don't think it's a real job. 

Read on for 5 reasons why a career in the arts or in creativity is a real job and should be taken seriously so that you can confidently proclaim that.


Redefining the 'Real Job

The perception of a 'real job' has evolved over the years. While once it was synonymous with traditional 9-5 roles, the rise of entrepreneurship and the digital age has expanded this definition. The online marketplace offers a myriad of opportunities for artists to monetize their skills, gradually gaining recognition as legitimate professions. If ever faced with skepticism, showcasing successful artists in your domain might serve as the perfect retort.

Art Is Essential

Art isn't a mere luxury or hobby; it's a fundamental part of our human experience—it always has been, and it always will be. Art brings beauty, it brings meaning, it brings joy to people's lives, and it helps us process and make sense of our emotions and experiences. 

In other words, living in a world without art and creative pursuits is not a world that we want to live in. Artists make a valuable contribution to society, but furthermore, they create legacy work—meaning everything that falls into the arts category, whether you're a musician or a designer or an artist or a writer, you're creating work that is going to live on many, many years past your own. And that is incredible. 

Art Is Work

The misconception that artists are simply waiting around for inspiration to strike is akin to the fallacy that pastors only work on Sundays. Such stereotypes are far from reality. Building a successful career out of art isn't merely about creating; it involves setting up a business, marketing, audience building, and fulfilling orders. It requires discipline, dedication, and practice. Emphasizing the multifaceted nature of an artist's work can help dispel misconceptions.

Art Can Be Profitable

Art isn't just passion; it's incredibly profitable. Today's artists craft multifaceted careers, often combining various passions. Diversified income streams ensure that if one avenue slows, another can compensate. Artists can earn traditionally, through selling original art, commissions, in-house designs, and product designs. However, the digital age has ushered in non-traditional avenues: selling digital goods like e-books, designs on platforms like Spoonflower and Creative Market, creating courses, and affiliating with loved products. The umbrella of residual or recurring revenue covers many of these, showcasing the manifold ways artists can profitably channel their creativity.

Pursuing Your Passion Is Important

Lastly, we arrive at perhaps the most personal reason, the profound importance of chasing your passion. In the grand tapestry of life, our time is but a fleeting moment. It's paramount to immerse ourselves in work that not only provides sustenance but also fills our hearts with joy and fulfillment.

For those who find their souls resonating with art, with an innate talent and fervor pushing them towards it, it's not just a choice but a calling. I've always believed that when we engage in activities that spark joy within us, this joy doesn't remain confined. Instead, it spills over, touching and inspiring those around us. It serves as a beacon, guiding others to seek what brings them happiness, encouraging them to chase their dreams fearlessly.

Acknowledging this passion isn't always easy, especially when faced with skepticism. I've been there— constantly trying to validate my dreams to friends, family, and peers. But over time, I realized that the most compelling argument wasn't in words but in action. Observing the tireless dedication, the relentless pursuit, and the tangible results transformed the doubters into believers. The fruits of my labor became my testament.

So, for every artist reading this, the next time you're faced with doubt, either from within or from others, remember that the most resounding proof lies in your work. Let your art speak for itself. Embrace your title, wear it with pride, and let the world witness the magic you're capable of creating. After all, the real proof is always in the pudding.


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