Ken Hayes

Contributor: Ken Hayes
Most "professional" artists have some sort of lofty mission statement, with lots of key buzz-words and gobbledegook, but fortunately we don't.
We kid ourselves that creating one would give the company boundaries, and by definition real artists don't work within boundaries, but the truth is that our art defines what we do, which is forever changing in subject matter and technique, so the statement written one day would be out of date the next.
Basically we try to capture an image, perceived or imagined,in, hopefully, a unique way, that we hope is both creative and aesthetic to the viewer.The hope that we get paid for it is definitely a bonus, but not a driving force, otherwise we would fall into the trap of repeating work we've done or what is already out there.

Tip1 Part time work rarely, if ever results in full time money. If you are looking for a wage it takes persistence, time and dogged determination. Art is a marathon, not a sprint.
Tip2 Look at what is already out there but don’t try to recreate it, because once it’s out there it’s too late.
Tip3 Be true to yourself artistically, for instance if you enjoy doing landscapes, and that triggers your artistic juices, don’t try and switch it to figurative work because that’s in vogue but your heart isn’t really in it.
Tip4 Keep learning your craft and experimenting, because as soon as you decide you are at an adequate level you will never improve, and without practice you will deteriorate.
Tip5 If you are using other people’s words or work within yours you need to get permission, or at least check with someone who specialises in these matters. It will save you money and time in the long run.
Tip6 Most creative people lack organisation, and much prefer working with their preferred art rather than marketing. If you are doing both jobs yourself either consider a partner who can sell and market on your behalf, or allot a time each day, just to deal with these issues. It requires determination, but the chance of succeeding by just sticking your work on a wall, or entering exhibitions is very remote.
Tip7 Don’t look at pieces that aren’t saleable as wasted time. It’s a good idea to keep this work and look at it from time to time as it will give you perspective on what went wrong, but there could be a seed of an idea that could be developed at a later date.
Tip8 Don’t forget art is in the eye of the beholder, so if you get knocked back, don’t worry, it could be someone else’s cup of tea.
Tip9 Don’t expect to get paid by the hour until you are established. Look at what is out there, how they are priced and if it is selling at that price. That will give you an indication.
Tip10 It’s an old adage but very true, if you love the work you do you’ll never have to work another day in your life. You need to love this work to have the tenacity to persevere and to take the knocks, but if you succeed , even if it’s just selling one piece, that tells you that your work is commercial, so the rest is up to you.
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