I think one of the biggest advantages I've had in art, besides the amazing support of my family and friends (that will be a whole entry in itself) is treating what I do like a business.
Before I ever did art full time I diligently spent time in the studio a certain amount of time each day. I never though of it as a hobby I would do when and if I had time. I would go to the studio before work waiting tables and sometimes after I was done. I didn't want a hobby, I wanted to etch out a business. It amazes me how many young (and sometimes older) artists that treat their dreams like something they'll do when they feel like it or when its convenient. I'll do that reading books or playing golf. We have all (hopefully) had a job at one point. You don't go to your job when you feel like it, or you'd be fired pretty fast. Being a good employee to prepare you to be your own boss is something that I'll expand on later. But for now I'll just mention I was a valuable enough employee when we stepped out that Tony, my manager, said I could have my job back anytime I needed it. I was thankful for that, and I'm thankful that I haven't had to take him up on it yet.
So if you want to replace your job, treat it like one. I'm not talking about taking the fun out of art or turning yourself into a slave. But if you want to be your own boss you'll have to act like one from time to time. With a couple exceptions (being young) I've always tried to be a good employee. I've realized over time that if I wasn't a good employee to another boss I would never be a good employee to myself.
So before you jump into the big, wide waters of working for yourself, ask if you treat it seriously now. I've learned that if you aren't serious now, you won't work hard when you have all the time in the world and no one to tell you what to do with it.
Remember, you're not trying to create another hobby, you want to make a career. So let's do just that... its starts with showing up.
Donnica's take -
The 2nd most common question I get about being married to Scott is “What it is like supporting an artist?” (The first, of course, being “Are you an artist, too?” “No.” Smile. Awkward silence. Why do people assume that?)
How politely I respond to this question depends on the emphasis on the word “support.” Though I'm sure I'll eventually devote an entire post on how chapped I get when people assume that Scott has to be starving & how I must be sacrificing my ENORMOUS income as a nurse (sarcasm) to build his dream, for now I just do so solemnly swear that the past 10 years have been a joint financial venture with both of us sharing the risks, benefits & challenges.
The other definition of support, more consistent with “give approval, comfort, encouragement to,” or “be actively interested and concerned for the success of,” is the one I'm more vested in. Then the questions being asked are essentially, “Why do you support an artist? Why would you encourage him to step out on an unsure business in an unstable economy? Why would you approve of inconsistent paychecks?”
Our faith aside (which is a HUGE aspect), Scott has ALWAYS, since I've met him, put the work in. Before we were married and he was working full time at Grandover, it wasn't uncommon for him to get off work around midnight and head straight to the studio. There were mornings we shared 6am meetings when he still hadn't been home yet! He'd just roll in with a cup of coffee smelling like restaurant and paint (Men – ladies love the smell of the hustle. So. Hot.) with a smile on his face. I can remember on many occasions him skipping dinners, drinks, or an intense vennis game (don't ask) with our group of friends to work at the studio. After we were married and he was able to stop waiting tables, he always went to work and came home when I did. Never mind the fact that I worked 12 hour shifts and had an hour commute each way. (That's 14 hours a day, people!)
Scott has always felt the responsibility of an honest day's work & did not use the lack of work coming in as an excuse. Any of you who own your own business know that the work is never done, even if its not the glamorous work. When there wasn't a demand for artwork, Scott viewed it as an opportunity to find new galleries to showcase the work, to email publications for advertising, or to create a more efficient work environment at the studio.
He showed up.
He is easy to support because he shows up.