The One Skill You Need (Besides Talent)



Hey Artist,

What I'm about to say will possibly offend you. As an artist myself, I'm a little offended too; but the fact that the truth is painful doesn't make it any less truthful.


Talent alone will not make you successful.


Now I know that everyone has their own version of success. I'm not saying that you need to be famous or rich to be successful. I am not saying that someone else is a better artist than you just because they have gained notoriety and/or a fan base. But, I think we can agree that as an artist your time would be better spent if you could afford supplies, food, and free time to make more art. At the very least you could at least make more of it.


But despite "doing what you love and the money will follow" there is a definite skill that I have only recently learned that many artists are lacking:


Talking about their art in a clear and concise manner.


The romantic vision that we have of artists being hermits or idiot savants who exist solely to make art does not really work unless you have a benefactor or acolytes spreading the word throughout the world.


If someone asks you about your art, you need to be able to give them the Cliff's Notes explanation of what it's about. And more importantly, you need to be able to give it to them without appearing condescending.


If you create something and put it out in the world AND you are lucky enough to get a response, people will want to know about it. If you enter your art in a competition, you will need to create a synopsis and possibly do interviews. If you do multiple interviews, you will have to answer the same questions again and again. This is part of the process. This is how you get people to experience your work. If Marvel Studios can create a trailer for the latest Spiderman movie, you can figure out a way to talk about your work.


In addition, if you become known for being interesting in interviews and as someone who promotes every venue that their art is featured in, it will be easier to get your work featured because then you are helping the venue itself.


It's not pure. Maybe it shouldn't be this way. But this is how it is.

So take a toastmaster class, or a journalism course, or have your extrovert friend teach you, but learn how to talk about your art. Then maybe, other people will talk about it too.


E

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MERCENARY ARTISTS
Because being an artist IS a real job.