When did you decide or when did you first consider yourself an artist?
i studied illustration in college and after graduation, i began freelance illustrating. so you could say that was when i became a professional artist. it was about 7 years after that before i started doing my own work with the goal of showing in galleries. but that was when i really became an artist rather than an illustrator. not that illustration is not art, but it’s a bit different. it’s a great background to have for an artist actually, but ultimately doing your own work is much different than working on projects for clients.
What was one of the hardest things to over come when you were first starting out as an artist?
not having any financial stability. obviously any kind of freelance art lifestlye means that sometimes you will have income and other times you won’t. that can be very challenging. usually people need either a supportive family, or a part time job to help make ends meet while trying to make a career with art.
How do you get clients/patrons?
when i was an illustrator, i had an agent and i also entered illustration competitions. after moving into the fine art world, most of the sales are through the galleries that i work with. after some time passes, and you become more known, more people begin to contact you directly for sales and commissions. having a good website is also crucial in becoming established and more successful over time.
How do you decide what to charge for each job/painting?
my prices are usually figured out together with the gallery that i am working with at that time. they are based on past prices and sales. generally it is based on size of a piece. sometimes a particular piece is larger but very simple, or smaller but very complex, so these pieces might not quite fit the price scale solely based on size. so there has to be some flexibility.
when i do private commissions, i generally give my clients the same prices that my gallery asks, with a small discount. galleries often give small discounts to regular collectors, so they often expect it.
How do you promote yourself?
that’s a good question. i probably do not do enough to promote myself. i book shows with galleries, and then just set about making work for around a year. then around the show, the gallery helps line up different magazines and websites to help promote the show.
lately i use facebook more and more to help promote my work. i try to post lots of pictures of work, when i can. and also some process pictures.
What do you hate/love about your profession?
i love the freedom to express myself and do whatever i want with my artwork. i love not having a boss or a work schedule and being in charge of my own time. i love the feeling that i get when something that i created from my own imagination ends up being bought and displayed on someone’s wall in their home or office. it’s very rewarding.
things that i do not like about being an artist are mostly related to the business side or the reality of the art world. i don’t like that gallies take half, and i dont like how cheap many rich collectors can be. often the richest ones ask for the biggest discounts. as far as the process of being an artist, i like most of it, but sometimes it gets lonely or boring, because it’s very isolating. sometimes it would be nice to be around other people more regularly.
How do you manage the business aspects of your career?
well, i have an accountant, but that’s mostly for taxes. the business part is not too hard. when i am trying to find galleries, i do more work sending out material and following up. but that’s not a regular thing. it would be nice to have more time to spend on business matters. but really i prefer to spend most of my time painting. and i need to, if i want to pay the bills. again because i have an illustration background i learned a few things about invoices, billing, taxes and things like that, so my background has been helpful for basic business things.
Any advice for a artist just beginning his/her career?
live cheaply and save your money. marry a lawyer or doctor, or someone with a good stable career who can support you until your career blossoms financially. make a work schedule for yourself and stick to it. don’t watch television during the daytime. work alot but have at least one day off per week. try to make your work meaningful and personal. seek criticism of your work from artists and professionals whose opinions you admire, and work hard to improve. just because you finish school does not mean you finish learning or improving.
Lastly, briefly describe the last dream you had…
last night i dreamt that i was doing some kind of painting actually on a person. it was a famous actress who i am friendly with. she has been on my mind lately since i know her but have not heard from her in awhile. anyway in the dream i was painting her hair or something. i didnt want to get paint on her clothes and she suggested i get a plastic bag to cover her shirt with. i went to get one and when i came back she was lying on my bed resting. i told her she works too much. she got up and touched my belly which seemed a little fat. thats about all i can recall.