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Become the artist God wants you to be.
Copyright 2008 J. K. Phillips Edited 2018
If you want to be an artist and become known as one, then you need to commit yourself to the idea. Make a decision to make art. This may sound obvious but it is not always as easy as it appears, to make art or to be an artist. Being happy about the title of artist is a beginning, and knowing that this is the path for you will help with motivation, and concentrate your thinking to do what is needed to see this happen. There is a great bit of appropriate wisdom in the Bible in Proverbs 28:19. It says, that "without a vision the people perish." Without a goal you can easily be blown around by the wind of whatever is happening at the time. You can be ruled by circumstances instead of soaring above them to claim the prize of the path you are taking. If you are not sure that this is the right path for you, talk to God or a trusted counsellor about it.
After deciding that this is the path you want to take, then you need to make art regularly. Don’t leave it until you have the time, such as when you retire. You may not have the eye sight then. Doing a little often is better than waiting for the time when you have time, which tends to be never. You may have to plan this. Set aside time, write it in your dairy and do all that is needed to secure this time for making art. You may need to turn your phone off. You may need to pay someone to look after your children or business for a few hours or a day. You may need to plan your holidays to ensure that you do make art. Try planning an art retreat. There are many online opportunities. If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. (Ecclesiastes 11:4). So just start, and if that is hard, which it sometimes is, speak the word to your soul. "Just start." Get a pencil or pen out. Draw on any scrap of paper. If all you have is toilet paper, use that. The first step can be the hardest.
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might" is the advice given in Ecclesiastes 9:10. Persevere, with your art. Practice will improve it. If it doesn’t seem to be improving then find an artist who can help you or a workshop. Visit an art gallery. Study art that is similar to yours to see how others have dealt with similar problems such as techniques of paint application or lack of inspiration. Talk with other artists. The people you mix with can positively or negatively influence you. As the saying goes, you cannot change your family but you can choose to spend time with people who motivate you on your chosen path. Find an art group to join, or start one yourself. There are many excellent youtube video tutorials. There are online communities. Try searching for an appropriate one to join.
Ask yourself, "Why art?" and why your art in particular is valuable, and worth someone’s while to buy it, or own it. If you don’t value it, why should anyone else? Find out about the art that was created for Solomon’s temple. This might help you with establishing your values. The first time we are told the the Lord uses the words "Filled" with the "Spirit of God" is in Exodus. God filled Bezalel gifting him with the skill for all the work needed for the temple. That includes arts and crafts and God was the first artist, so communicate with Him about every aspect of your art adventure, and make art that you can be proud of when you finally stand before Him to give an account of how you developed and added to your "talents".
Do you see your art as a business? Meeting with other artists is one way of "getting your name out there." Once you have even a small portfolio of work that you are reasonably happy with, you need others to see it. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities.
Do you see your art as a ministry? Christian artists and prophetic artists face some of the same issues as preachers. Is their work "peddling the gospel" when they sell it, or are they receiving the workman's just wage?
Whether it's your business or not, don’t "hide your light under a bushel" as the bible saying goes (Matthew 5:15), but think about who your light is and why God doesn't want it hidden. God has dreams for your life too, and His far surpass what we can purpose for ourselves.
While I was concentrating on art, I always carried in my bag, a little A6 size book that had copies of my images in it, printed onto glossy photography paper. I added to it as I completed each work. This enabled me to show people my art when they asked what kind of art I did. I have a business card as well, so that people are able to contact me later, or view my work online. You need to get a web site to show your works even if you don't have an online payment system such as pay pal on it. There are many free web sites hosts available and a lot of free help is also available. I can help you with this or you can teach yourself. Have a look at my free tutorial at www.citwings.com
Search your local community for places where you can display your work. Build up some permanent display places such as at church, in universities, hair salons, restaurants, cafes, shops, clothing boutiques, hotels, offices, and showrooms and book shops. If people see your work in a range of places they begin to value your work more and think of you as artist, even a well known one.
Join some art groups that hold exhibitions, even if that is all you do in the group. It is one way of building your art presence. As soon as you have enough art works, have a solo exhibition. You can apply for grants to fund the opening and the space, or find a display space that is free and hold it there. Exhibitions are a great way of promoting your work. Make a catalogue. If you have a computer you can create it yourself. You will need to write a small art biography and make sure you have your contact details so that people can contact you later if they like your work. Create a flyer or postcard to email to people and to hand out around the place. This should look professional. Keep one or two with you to give to people you meet in your day. Make appointments with your local papers to let them know about your exhibition. Send them an invitation. Generously advertise your event. The more you advertise, the more people will start to think of you and your art, even if they do not attend the opening. Take photos of people looking at your art at the opening, to display on your web site or to send to your local paper. Even if only 3 people turn up, ask them if it is okay for you to have them looking at your art for your web site. Be positive about the event. Others are more likely to come to another of your exhibitions if they hear a positive report. Find someone to do a review and send it into your local paper.
If you want to read about how God miraculously helped me promote one of my exhibition go to Guidance
Keep a record of your art and art events. Be diligent in your record keeping. Some exhibition organisers kike to see this. List buyers name and contact details, the size and date you completed the art and always take a photo of it before it sells. Professional photos are best but if you cannot afford this take your own. When I first started selling my work, I didn't take any photos and now I have only the memory of what they were like, and memories cannot be trusted to serve you faithfully throughout your life. Your memory or talk will not be enough to let others know of your ability, or what Christ has done through you. Like journalling your record of past images can also encourage you. They can also be your visual testimony to share with others and as the Scripture says, we overcome by the word of our testimony.
There are a lot of online art communities and galleries where you can show your work free of charge. Search these out or ask someone who belongs to some, to share their experience and links with you to the sites that they have found useful.
There are many other ways that you can build your reputation as an artist. Set aside some time to build a list of them.
As you seriously think about it, ideas will come into your mind. Here are a few that came into my mind:
Finally, keep a journal so that you can remember in years to come when your memory is not as good as it is now. The apostle Paul said "Watch for God's answers and remember to be thankful when they come". Colossians 4:2 Write them down so you can tell others. This can be your testament to the greatest artist you will ever meet.