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An Artistic Career: The Ultimate Paradox

ultimate paradox
By Artist's Strategy

A paradox is a circumstance made up of seemingly contradictory features or qualities. It is a tug of war where there is no right or wrong. Where the only answer is balance. An artistic career is the ultimate paradox.

The tug of war between the creative self and the need to grow a sustainable business in order to continue to create.

While it is absolutely a unique challenge, sometimes the overriding urge to pit both sides against one another creeps up which only works against us. Over the years we’ve heard various versions of why, for so many, they reject the idea of running an organized business alongside the art. It tends to range from worry that it will somehow undermine their creativity, feelings of being scared of the unknown components of running a business to simply “I don’t want to”.

And sometimes the opposite is true. A creative entrepreneur can find so much purpose from approaching their venture from the business perspective that they lose sight of the nurturing their art needs in order to stay alive.

Your art is your product. Therefore, it needs as much mindful attention as it can get.

What that looks like is unique to you, of course. Cultivating your art can come in the form of free time, multiple collaborations, wide open space, yoga / meditation, journaling and the list goes on.

And for some, it’s cultivated best when there’s less worry about general financial strain, more relationships to glean opportunity from or a simple sense of day to day direction. To each their own.

Well – we’re all right. Truly. Wherever you personally stand on the topic is 100% valid and we have to be gentle with ourselves while we navigate the paradoxical circumstance that is a professional artist’s life.

So the work comes in finding balance between the two. It can start by avoiding sweeping generalizations towards any one camp because as Artist’s Strategy has set out to build a healthier, creative yet business driven community for all artists, we’ve learned that this takes time and patience. It’s not going to happen over night.

We can’t reject the art and we can’t reject the business because whether we like it or not, they’re one.

What we can do is change our relationship with the work and begin to write a different story for ourselves that is inclusive of what we need from both “sides” without any sense of resentment and instead replace it with a sense of acceptance.

A paradox underlines that seemingly divergent qualities are of equal value and deserve shared respect. That very much includes where you’re at today. But tomorrow’s another day. Maybe the growth in perspective will lend even more to the side you may be leaning towards currently. If you’re not there, that’s fine, but acknowledging the circumstance, all the while embracing that you’re doing the best you can in this moment, is the journey of any paradox and a solid enough start to the potential of creating lasting change while juggling both your art and the business of your art.

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