What do you do when you feel like you're doing everything you possibly can to advance in your art and yet there seems to be a lack of opportunity? Typically, you have two choices:
Complain about the lack of opportunity and become jealous of those around you who seem to be succeeding with such ease (which is a lie, of course). "What the crap?" you think. "I could so do what they're doing." But you're not. And you don't. Because complaining is easier than ACTION. And action, leads to change, which can be too scary.
2. Make Opportunities.
Yeah I know. I hear the push back. "I don't have time. I have a limited network. I don't know where to start... what's the use?..." The truth is if you are HUNGRY enough you can take advantage of opportunities all around you. They just aren't those sexy opportunities that thrust you into the public eye with accolades and acclaim. And let's be honest. If we're going to bust our butts, we want it to count for something right?
What I have found is that you might have to redefine your idea of what great opportunities look like. Are you doing work you love? (If not - then get to it.) Stop waiting for someone to ask or invite you to do it. Because that's not going to happen. Pick yourself.
Would I like to have my art seen and collected by an ever expanding group of patrons and fans, and achieve all that goes with being a "successful" artist? Sure. But I'm not waiting for someone to come knocking. I keep taking the right next step. TODAY.
Practically speaking what might that look like?
Commit to a drawing or painting a day for an entire year. I have for the past 4 years and counting. I've even done more than one most days. Did I do this because some one asked me to? No. I did it to kick to the curb the lie I believed for too long that I because I couldn't draw in a photo realistic style my art was no good. I did it to keep moving forward on my artists journey. I want to keep discovering. Experimenting. Creating out of a sense of play and wonder.
There are opportunities all around us. We might just have to use our creativity to see them.
Visit the Sketch book project. Sign up to do a sketchbook. They send it out on a mini tour before it comes back to live in Brooklyn NY at the Sketchbook Library. You never know who might be impacted by your work.
Take part in a 100 Day Project through social media. Search for the hashtag #the100dayproject on Instagram and see all the awesome projects people are involved in. I'm currently doing 100 days of portraits, using charcoal. (Come follow me @mikebone)
Seek out a local art center for opportunities to take part in classes and exhibits.
Look for local businesses that might be willing to display your art. (Note: try to match the audience you're trying to reach though. It probably won't do you much good to have your Sci-fi Steampunk art hung at grandma's fancy tea shop in town.)
If no one is paying you to create the art you long to create, hire yourself. Then keep hiring yourself. Do the work for you. And keep looking for ways to share it. You might be amazed. When you do the work, and open yourself up, sometimes opportunities come from the strangest places. Stop talking about it and put yourself out there!
What's one next step you can do today to move forward?
Why not share it below? It just might help you commit.