“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” Louisa May Alcott (from The Painter’s Keys).
Artists can be hit hard in times of austerity but is it necessarily all bad? Can tough times be also, times of heightened creativity? Artists can look upon tough times as an opportunity to do new and exciting things. Break new ground. Do something not done before. Find new tools to navigate the storm.
Seeking creative ways to sell art is one method of fighting the waves. The author of Artbusiness.com states, “rather than seeing tough times as obstacles to their career success, see them as opportunities to tap into your creative strengths and reserves.” How an artist does that is as unique as the artist him/herself. Possible methods include dropping prices, changing selling venue, seeking new non-traditional methods of selling and horror of horrors, changing artistic style. It depends on what works for you and where your market is. Experiment and get creative.
The BBC News Magazine asks the question, “Do hard times equal good art?” The writer gives argument to both sides of the question. Many well known artists have lived hard lives with tough times. Others lived in the lap of luxury. Some artists, myself included, create better under pressure. Again, the answer, most likely, lies within the individual artist. With examples of both types throughout history, does it really matter? Good times or bad, the point is to carry on.
Some artists deal with the storms of tough times by turning them into their work. Looking at the incredible energy of Joseph M. W. Turner’s ships in stormy waters, it appears the painter knows a thing or two about storms. Though Turner achieved success with his painting, his personal life was not without turbulence mainly during his childhood, (read more here). Perhaps his storm painting was, at least partially a metaphor for his own personal storms.
To get through stormy weather, it seems the best action is to seek navigational tools by digging ever deeper into creativity. And after the storm, smooth sailing ahead!