Jerry Lebo, 2007
I have finally settled on "Bite Me" as the name for my series of junk food paintings, in honor of the fact that there is a single bite in each. Thanks is due to my colleague Piers, who has been putting up recently with my artistic rants around the office--and has inspired me to go for a series title that reflects my general mood. I will be posting the final painting from the series this weekend--"Cherry Pop-Tart"--which will make a total of six paintings in the series. I may add a few down the road, but I want to move onto anther series this weekend.
So I have been thinking about the odds of making it as a full-time artist, and the news is not good. There are around 35,000 art majors graduating from schools around the country each year--and even if 10% are looking to become full-time artist--that makes for a lot of competition. The good news, is that most graduates give up on a career in painting pretty quickly and end up in commercial or graphic arts.
As an experiment, I have been offering my smaller paintings for sale on Ebay for the last few weeks-and each has typically been seeing around 20-25 "views" over the listing period. That is not a lot of looking (2-3 per day)--although I have ended up selling two directly. I have also had a follow up sale (thanks Cindy). So I have not drawn a lot of eyes on Ebay--but have had moderate success. Right now on Ebay, within the category "contemporary paintings", there are 26,500 paintings for sale. So there is a lot of competition out there for sales on Ebay.
So what is an artist to do? Well, first and foremost, forget about the competition--they are irrelevant to your success. Success cannot be predicted by what other people are doing--only by what you are doing. I have met a lot of painters out there talking about painting--but very few that do it everyday. Even rarer is the artist who does it everyday for a year. The rarest painter of all is the one that does it day after day for years on end. You will not meet many of these. There are too many things that can distract you...job, family, money, etc. It is thus very rare to find someone who is painting daily year after year--unless they are already making a living at it. I will re-iterate what I said in a post the other day--the most important aspect of success as a painter is good work habits. So if you are worried if you are going to succeed as an artist--keep in mind the first step is to produce regular quality work--and the rest will take care of itself. A commitment to daily work is the foundation of success.
So, as for myself, I have been feeling a bit discouraged lately--but I know it is only temporary, so I do not plan to back off one bit with my painting discipline. I have already worked around 2 hours in the studio today--and will be following up working on my web-site this evening and tomorrow. By the end of the weekend, I hope to have a good start on my next series of paintings--although I am not entirely sure what these will be just now. However, I hope it will come to me soon.
Anyway, I hope you get some good painting time this weekend. Send me some comments if you have any feedback on the blog--or ideas for a posting. I am photographing my art work this weekend, so I may do a post on how to photograph your own work. There are some ideas out there on the web--but most of these people do not seem to have ever actually photographed paintings before.
All the best, sixtyminuteartist.