What Does an Artist Do?

what does an artist do

Photo by Allef Vinicius

Have you ever asked yourself 'what does an artist do'?  It may be a silly question but do you think of yourself as a real artist?

On the journey of art, it’s easy to look at where we want to be in the future and say “when I get there, then I’ll be legitimate”.

But how you think about yourself and your art in the present is important. The way you act and treat your work informs the people about how seriously they should take you and your art.

Whether you want to be a successful artist in the art world or simply just improving in the work you produce, it’s time to start taking yourself seriously as a real artist.

Work by students at the Evolve Art Academy

What Does a Real Artist Look Like?

If you want to start taking yourself seriously as an artist, you must first start with defining what a real artist looks like.

For everybody, the picture of a successful artist is going to be a little bit different. Not all painters consider the fame and fortune of Jackson Pollock to be their goal. Many artists are happy just to improve upon their own work, paint their loved ones, or create personal art that brings meaning to their world.

But it is a good thing to start from a position with a little bit of understanding of what the art world looks like for professionals.

Most people have an idea of what a professional artist looks like, but that idea is fairly skewed. They’ve gone to big cities and galleries with large paintings with larger price tags, and they’ve seen the auctions of art that reach into the millions.

These artists, however, are not the norm, they’re the outliers.

The vast majority of artwork sold in the United States is sold for under $5,000. So if you think that those grandiose outliers are the standard, you’ll be setting goals that are very unreasonable.

A quick Google search will give you a ton of information about what the art world actually looks like when it comes down to price.

But it’s not the amount of money earned that makes you a real artist.

Photo by Deanna J. on Unsplash

Signs of a Real Artist

You don’t need to earn a salary, have gallery shows, or be famous to consider yourself a real artist. Many incredible artists aren’t looking for a paycheck or recognition, but rather seeking to express themselves and return some beauty and meaning to the world.

1. These artists have set goals, made routines, and have systems in place for staying motivated.

True artists understand that goals are necessary to grow. Setting reasonable goals to achieve helps them to keep pushing onward and upward. They have an idea of where they want to be and have made clear plans on how to get there. They are continually growing.

2. Real artists also have routines and schedules to get work done. They take their work seriously and know that time and focus is necessary to get things accomplished. They respect the time they have to make art and don’t allow it to be put on the back-burner.

3. Finally, these artists stay motivated. They surround themselves with a peer group that encourages them, teachers that help them to grow in knowledge, and are continuously working to improve.

These artists may not be famous or making massive salaries, but they are proud of their work and are continually growing as artists. They put in the work and take themselves seriously.  If you want to know what does an artist do, a real artist that is?  It's that!

Evolve students learn how to take themselves and their work seriously, and in turn, create pieces like the one above.

Value Yourself and Your Work

When artists begin to work, they often struggle to take their work and their value as artists seriously as they learn. But if you want your peers or potential clients to take your work seriously, you have to have respect for yourself as a real artist.  It's like any other professional job.  You worked hard to get to where you are at so be proud of it!  

What does an artist do that sets them apart? Treating your art as a job and approach each painting with the air of a professional is another major idea. Make time for your work, stop giving it away for free, and be aware of the words you use to describe your art.  Whether you create art to earn money, because it makes you feel good, or because you just want to release that creative energy in you, know that your time is as important as the time you give yourself to others.  

Final Thoughts on Knowing What Does an Artist Do

Real artists are the ones who are growing, creating and adding their voice to the world in whatever way they can.

So if you want to be an artist, begin to treat yourself like one, and others will follow suit.

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