Success as an artist is a difficult thing to measure. Are you deemed successful if you sell a painting for $50,000? What if that painting is actually only at the level of a child’s scribblings on a wall? On the flip side, what if you happen to be the modern day Van Gogh, laughed at, mocked, labeled as devoid of talent, but after you die your work is priceless?
As an artist, this is a dilemma I face daily. I feel that to universally simplify success for all artists would be folly, so I will be content to define for you my idea of what my own personal success might look like.
My personal success as an artist could manifest itself in one (or two) of a couple of ways. If I was to continue to work for Trader Joe’s, I would deem my work there as wildly successful if I could eventually gather so much attention to the great work I was doing, that all of the stores in the state of Arizona wanted me to work for them. The way the art department works at Trader Joe’s, each store has their own artist to create their own style of art for the store. This allows each store to have a totally unique, fun vibe. If I worked full time as the artist, I could re-invent the entire store to be so visually striking that all of the other stores were envious. I would get hired to go around to all the stores in the valley to help boost their art departments. The highest thing I could achieve would be to work for the corporate Trader Joe’s office as their in-house creative team leader, setting standards for the work that is to be produced and helping each store decide and execute their own unique aesthetic.
If I was to stop working for Trader Joe’s and instead further pursue a career as a painter more focused on fine arts, then I would see myself as successful if I had a fairly constant flow of people approaching me to be in their exhibitions. As a successful, exhibiting artist, I would spend my days painting in my sunny, breezy studio, painting whatever I pleased. I would have little concern for the hustle and bustle of normal working life, for I would be in no need of excess money. The highest thing I could achieve would be if I eventually owned my own gallery or earned a permanent position in a highly respected gallery somewhere like New York.
· Exhibit at least two paintings in a gallery in the next two years.
· Create a cohesive, highly polished body of work (at least 8 paintings) in the next two years.
· Become proficient at the Adobe Creative Suite in the next two years.
· Network within Trader Joe’s to become familiar with higher-ups in the creative team
· Build a clean, thorough website and digital portfolio of all my work.
· Have a family and maintain my painting career.
· Show regularly in a number of local galleries.
· Build a network of freelance customers.
· Have a creative position at the corporate level of Trader Joe’s.
· Be financially stable enough to possibly open a gallery.
Steps to achieving these goals:
· Contact local galleries that exhibit work like mine.
· Paint regularly in my private studio, working towards a cohesive series.
· Take community college classes on the Adobe Creative Suite.
· Contact TJ’s headquarters and pursue relationship with artists.
· Buy a hosting for autumnfarrell.com; build and manage effectively.
· Get married and find balance between family and work.
· Create good relationships with gallery owners.
· Market myself through my current freelance customers to gain a wider customer base.
· Create excellent work at Trader Joe’s that catches attention from higher-ups.
· Work hard, spend money wisely, and save money often.