Creative living is something innate. Every last one of us is born creative. Every. Last. One.

That creativity just takes different forms in different people. And multiple forms in most people.

In this episode, I’m covering three different ways that creative living can express itself. Which one is YOUR creative purpose right now?

In the episode:
01:03 –There has to be alignment between what you do and why you do it
02:00 –The main reason that people are painting or making sculpture or making any sort of creative endeavor is because it’s fun or it’s pleasurable, or it’s a passion
02:20 –The second one is profit and profit tends to be something that’s looked down on in the art world
03:00 –The third one is impact and impact is when an artist has a message they want to get out
03:51 –Artists go through those states, each one of those things, at different stages
4:47 –Which one is it for you? Is it pleasure? Is it profit or is it impact
5:10 – Questions from the audience

In this episode we talk about what kind of artist you are, what point you’re at on your art journey, and how it affects your work. Thinking about the fact that every time you pick up a brush or a knife, everytime you step up to the easel, you’re consciously, or a lot of time subconsciously, choosing where to spend your enverty, time, and what to focus on and what to ignore and let go. These decisions affect the results that you get, and more importantly, they impact how you feel about the results you get. 

So, to say it a little bit differently, if you want to feel successful in making art, or really anything else for that matter because this is not just specific to art, you really need to know how you define success and what it means to you first. There has to be alignment between what you do and why you do it. 

There are three main drivers that I see for artists.

  • Pleasure
  • Profit
  • Impact 

There’s a little bit of all three motivating most artists that I know and talk to, but usually there’s one that stands out above all the others. There’s one thing that is the most important thing to an artist. That can change overtime. It doesn’t have to stay the same forever.

When most artists are starting out, the main reason that artists create is because it makes them feel good. It’s fun, pleasurable, or it’s a passion. It’s something that they are dreaming about and thinking about all the time. Art can be entertainment, but it’s also something that fulfills an emotional need. 

The second one is profit. Profit tends to be something that’s looked down on in the art world. It’s a dirty word and it shouldn’t be because there’s no reason why an artist shouldn’t make a living from what they love to do. If making money with art is what you want to do, go for it. Own it. Don’t feel bad about it at all because if you do feel bad about it, if you deny that that’s what you really want to do at the time and walk away from it, it will bite you in the butt. That need is still there, you’re just ignoring it. So you’ve got to acknowledge what it’s that you really want and then go for it!

The third one is impact. Impact is when an artist has a message they want to get out. The message is the most important thing, not the internal emotional driver, not the profit, but the message is having an impact on the world. It’s transforming people, whether it’s transforming the way they see things, the way they act, or the way they do things. Art with a message, the artist is the messenger, means that they are really trying to impact those around them. 

Artists go through those stages, each one of those things, at different times. So, a young artist might be purely interested in the passion of making art to begin with. Then think “maybe I can make some money at this, maybe I can even make a living here.” Then the profit can become important. Then once they become more stable in their business, the impact can become the thing that’s most important. 

But, the bottom line is you have to know which one it is for you right now. If you don’t you’re not going to be able to feel that sense of completion that happens when you’re in alignment with what you really want and need. 

Which one is it for you? Is it pleasure? Profit? Impact? Which one strikes a chord with you? Which one resonates with you? I like to get my students to think about which percentage is most important for you. Is it 50% pleasure, 25% profit, and 25% impact? Or is it 90% one and 10% the other? Because once you know that then you can figure out which path you need to take so that you can really optimize for that end result. There are different kinds of challenges you run into depending on which type of motivator is important to you. 

People who are really motivated by pleasure can get really frustrated when they dont have the skills that let them create with ease. When skill stuff gets in the way, it’s not as much fun anymore. 

If you’re working towards profit, the challenges that can get in the way are not really knowing how to market yourself and sell your work. That can be a huge challenge and a huge demotivator. It can get in the way just the same as technical skills, but it’s something that’s fixable. It’s something that can be learned. 

Lastly, if you’re working toward impact, getting your messages across, or if changing people is really what’s driving you and you don’t know how to create an engaged audience or how to find an audience of people you’re trying to reach, then you’re talking to the wind and that’s extraordinarily frustrating. You have to have an audience in order to make an impact. An audience is important for profit as well, but if you don’t know how to get that audience, then you’re not going to be able to achieve either of those things. 

So, it’s super important to know which one of those three is the thing that’s going to drive you towards feeling successful… then you can chart out your roadmap to get there. 

Related blog posts to check out:

Are You Ignoring an Important Creative Voice? 

We Get to Choose Our Own Success Path in Art! 

Join my free ART+WORK+LIVING Facebook group and get involved in our community of artists of all mediums, styles, and stages. This space provides a reflective and supportive space for all artists, including you! 

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