Learning the Business of Being an Artist

For 6 years previous to my leaving LA for this great New Mexico adventure, I had played at being an artist. I showed my creations at various types of shows. Music Festivals, Women’s Festivals, Arts and Crafts fairs and Miniature shows.Castle Art Works at Covina Park I did this while still working a full time job at a bank. So moving to New Mexico came with the idea that I would become a full time artist. I found out about and attended a workshop in Espanola that talked about great techniques for marketing your art. I also learned about a group called Wesst Corp in Albuquerque, an organization that was all about helping women start small businesses. Through this group I applied for a small business loan and ventured into one of the scariest areas an artist may go. I had to visualize doing my art as a business.

I was provided the services of a wonderful consultant who supported and guided me through this struggle. Many weeks later I had finally completed a business plan. My next step was presenting my plan to a Board of 10 women…. and I thought the business plan was hard…  The result of this agony was a loan for $1,200 which seemed huge to me then.

I did not become a full time artist in the typical sense. I found work in several galleries in Old Town, Albuquerque where I learned a lot about the retail end of art. I was fortunate to work for people who were artists themselves so I could show my work and even Western Heritage Gallery Albuqdo a bit of creating while sitting the gallery.img037  One big thing that shifted for me was that I started focusing on one medium and that was Miniatures. I started entering competitive shows and actually received some awards. I was accepted in the International Guild of Miniature Artisans as an Artisan and was invited to participate in IGMA2006-03-04 11.28.04

their show in New York City.  I did go to New York and I sold everything I took there. I made contacts, I had orders to fill and I felt great. But this momentum did not last.

I look back now at this lesson and realize that everything I learned during this period, I put to use later while supporting the Arts and the artists in a little town 2 hours south of Albuquerque. I paid back my loan but I could never pay back what I gained in understanding the true business of being an artist.

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