Welcome to ArtistAnd. A company founded by fear of the unknown and a creative passion for more. An independent venture full of art, creativity, growth and a journey full of mindful treats.
Until recently, I had been toying with the idea of going solo, leaving the 9-5 grind and seeing how I could make a success on my own. The first big question was ‘What am I going to do?’. As an Artist, we are naturally stranded in our own environments. The world is not set up to support Artists and only the ‘lucky’ few get a break. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of Money in the Art world, and we call it a world because it has an ecosystem of its own. It can be elitist, and pretentious but I wanted to avoid that and do something else.
So how do we make Art more accessible and less exclusive? We all know about the struggling Artist cliché and for those of you who have been there, you will be able to confirm if it is worth the sacrifice or not.
Next we ask why? Why is it that Artists don’t really have access to a profitable future when they have skills and talents that excel modern day ‘skills and qualifications’. The amount of times I hear people say ‘I wish I was creative,’ ‘Wow I wish I could do that’. The need is there, but making money off the back of a creative talent is few and far between and yet we all wish we could be a part of it somehow. You can ask which skills are more important; Maths or Art? Well it depends. I remember being in school and despite enjoying Maths lessons, I did wonder how this will benefit me in the future. And when you now compare salaries between a Mathematician and an Artist, you think ‘maybe I should have found a way to make it important’.
I must admit, I was quite intelligent at school, and I think if I had nurtured my numerical abilities more, I could have gone down that route. However my real passion had always been painting and drawing. As I grew up, I developed my skills as a realist painter, both self-taught and aided in a few classical workshops with the Atelier Of Realist Art. Finally, a cumulations of all those years of practising and training had helped me reach my goal of hyperrealism and I thought to myself – well now I can do anything, what’s next?
When it comes to work, I have always loved structure, safety in routine and getting a regular salary. But being content was never a happy place for me. I like to keep striving and setting goals that are beyond my reach and seeing how close I can come to success. What is success to me? How did I value success in the Art world when everything is subjected to opinions, scrutiny and rejection? Was my success reaching Gallery Manager? Or was it partaking in the Royal Society of Oil Painters. One gave me money and a fancy title, whereas the other clarified that my craft was appreciated by strangers who I knew nothing about.
Back in February 2019, I left my job as a Gallery Manager and spent some time contemplating what to do next. I knew from early on in my career that my strongest skills were very practical, and to be honest, I loved getting hands on and physically involved in projects. Being dyslexic, like most of you fellow ArtistAnd’s, means that it is difficult and frustrating reading/ writing emails, researching and having to learn with text. Being a designer, a painter, builder, anything that involved thinking outside of the box is much more rewarding and forgiving in our slightly different brains.
My career started as an Art technician and to this day, it is still one of my favourite roles. Who wouldn’t enjoy being privy to some of the most lucrative and archaic pieces of Artwork in the world. Monet, Degas, Griffiths. Halcyon Gallery showcased many beautiful master pieces and I had access to it all! On top of that, we travelled all across the country, often visiting and installing oversea’s too. It was a dream. But at some point, there was a peak in where it could lead. So, I moved over into the office and began my journey learning to read and write again and not receiving the correct support that I needed. Regardless of this set back, I worked my way to Gallery Manager and it was there that my true passions came to light and I knew I couldn’t continue for much longer. Admin was not for me.
Then I left. For a few months, I spent some time traveling and clearing my head of what I thought I should be doing, and what I loved doing. Separating the two was very difficult. To be an Artist, and to be a business. I applied for jobs with the fancy titles, I started painting again and installing and each day the drive to get another operation jobs felt too painful. It didn’t feel right. Those of you who work in galleries now or ever have before, you will understand the disproportionate urgency of Artwork delivery anxiety. When you get home and you feel so nervous and scared that the Artwork won’t be delivered in time and you wake up thinking ‘what else has crept up in my sleep?’ that’s when you need to get out. In order to convince myself that these 12 hour turn arounds were so vital, I had to tell myself someone may die if they don’t get their Artwork before this deadline, and that would push me to work harder. After 6 years in the industry, I had had enough. Weekly tears, daily moaning’s and feeling inadequate were too much and for my own mental health, enough was enough. I knew I was good enough and I loved my job, but it took its toll on my capacity for happiness and risks needed to be taken.
At around 3 months clean of the 9-5, I caught up with a good friend of mine. They had also gone through a similar phase of feeling lost, but having a vague idea but not rolling with it and then told me about this Artist Support scheme they were wanting to run with. Amazingly, they offered this new services to me as a first ginuepig and well, the rest is history.
As an Artist themselves, and a genius in business, they mentored (and still do) me and taught me that it is ok to not belong to a boss and that I had all the ingredients I needed to make it on my own. The first lesson was to embrace the multi-hyphenate life style. After listening to the fabulous creative rebels, and reading several books about how there is no time like the presence to be creative in this unsaturated world, I had never felt so calm and excited at the same time. Very quickly, we came up with 2 companies and 1 Art service. WOW. The funny thing was, I had all of these treasures in my pantry all along and I hadn’t even realised it.
In fact, I still remember things I have achieved that back up my experience and we have been working on these projects for a while now!
So far, I do not regret anything. I took the time I needed and found the help to guide me. The craft is in my ArtistHand, and the story has only just begun.