In today’s episode I’m sharing the four key areas that can motivate an artist to create and the four can definitely overlap. In fact artists who have a balance of all four tend to achieve the greatest success and balance in their lives.

What do thriving successful artists know that gives them an edge?

They know their painting why – how they define success for themselves as artists.

I see four key areas that can motivate an artist to create: pleasure, innovation, recognition, and profit. The four can definitely overlap. In fact artists who balance all four tend to achieve the greatest success and balance in their lives.

Pleasure
Most artists start here, creating from a place of enjoyment, fun, entertainment and pleasure. Many artists in this category describe themselves as hobbyists, but don’t let that fool you. Painting for pleasure doesn’t mean a lack of skill. Quite the contrary. Many of these artists are quite skilled and spend a great deal of their spare time in painting. Artists who paint for pleasure often work when the mood strikes and enjoy the relaxing, meditative effect of painting. The main challenges they face can range from the lack of their own creative work space to frustration with lack of skill or carving out dedicated time to create. Connecting with other artists for community can benefit their skills development, beliefs in their identity as artists, and pure pleasure in the act of painting.

Innovation
Artists motivated by the desire to innovate value creative exploration and artistic excellence. Their painting practice is more directed towards developing their own unique approach and voice regardless of their work’s market viability. Many of these artists pursue opportunities to share their work in nonprofit venues like museums and residency programs. They frequently are not interested in selling their paintings, and are happy taking an outside job in order to be able to paint what they want.

Recognition
For an artist who is motivated by recognition, their top priority is communicating and sharing their work with a raving audience. Awards and competitive exhibitions, particularly professional ones at the regional and national level, feed their creative energy. But most important is that feedback loop with their engaged audience. Success comes in the form of fame rather than profit.

Profit
And then there are the artists who feel most aligned to their motivation when they’re able to achieve financial stability from the sale of work they love. For them, alignment happens when they focus on creating paintings that will appeal to their target audience. They are creative not only in their artwork, but in getting it in front of potential buyers and facilitating sales. Those sales may come from art fairs or festivals, gallery representation, or online marketplaces.

Ultimately you are the only person who gets to define what success means to you. Remember that achieving success in any of these four paths takes time and effort. But it’s definitely your time to thrive.

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