Inventing Myself

Lately the phrase ‘If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.’ has been rattling around in my head. I have been at this a long time, almost 15 years now, and I think a little bit of that overnight success would be just fine.

I got to thinking that after doing this so long, maybe it was time to reinvent myself. Its normal for artists and the like to reinvent themselves, right? Giving my brand a shake up should bring me some new attention. I need to remind people I exist, which in turn will get them interested in my work again.

What exactly am I reinventing though? I have slacked off on every part of this profession that isn’t straight making art for almost the entirety of the time I have been at it. I’m really going to have to invent myself before I try and reinvent myself.

Right now, I am largely unknown. In my own small community some people know about me, but outside of that I don’t have much social media interaction. I have about 200 followers on instagram, about 1000 on facebook, and interact with a small community on reddit, r/stencils. A gallery in my town shows my art, and it does get seen by a lot of people. I am grateful for that.

Its my own fault for forgoing self promotion. It’s just plain hard for me to do. Whenever I go to extremes to show people my work, I always feel like I’m a kid running around getting my parents to look at my coloring book. I often find a lot of fault with my artwork that others do not see, which I’m sure you do as well.

Honestly I would just rather paint all the day and night away in my little studio in my backyard. The promotion, distribution, and even the selling of my artwork seems secondary to what I would rather be doing, which is just painting whatever comes to mind. At the end of the day, it’s just a waste not to get some of artwork out into the world. Selfishly, I work super hard at this daily. If I don’t bother with marketing and selling, what am I even doing here besides decorating the heck out of my house.

When I first started out in this as a hobby, the people in my social circle really support me and help drive us toward our goals, even if those goals weren’t yet defined. They bought my crappy art and told me it was good. My friends and family were really great about motivating me to continue in my artistic pursuits.

In those early days I felt a lot of popularity come from my art. Everything I posted was adored by people I was associated with, and like a drug it kept me painting. After 10 years of shoving my art in the same folks faces, it’s just not that special to them anymore, even if the content has greatly improved. Like the difference in how people treat news of your first child against that of your second. That’s a knock on me though, not them.

So how can I get my hands on some of that success? Over the last few months I have been putting together a series of goals, things that I think will help me gain more traction within this very competitive community. I will expound on these goals as I accomplish them and future posts will go into further detail on the specifics of each.

  • Create a professional looking store and website with a custom domain. Focus on driving clicks.
  • Begin writing an art blog.
  • Produce Youtube videos, both for entertainment and instruction. Focus on showing people how easy this art thing is.
  • Grow my social media following. Expand the platforms I use.
  • Live stream painting sessions to twitch or Youtube.
  • Creating a live chat system on Discord.
  • Get endorsements.
  • Paint more!

As I work towards this, these goals might evolve. I hope they do. I’m looking forward to taking myself and what I do a little more seriously. I am a good artist, and so are you, we just need to get that through to the rest of the world.

I was expressing some self doubt to my wife about all this, having spent a good amount of money on video camera and other equipment. She is always supportive, and like always she gave me a good piece of wisdom. She told me that all this did not occur to me for no reason. If I see this as a possible path to success, it probably is. Even if the outcome is less than I hope for, only good things can come from trying. The journey to get there only strengthens me as an artist.

If it only took ten-thousand hours of patience and practice to get me here, whats another ten-thousand. If you love to make art, or anything really, there are a lot worse ways to spend your life.

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