Jul 28, 2012

Making Art is a Lonely Business

Artists spend a lot of time in their studios, often alone. For social people this is definitely unpleasant. But, even for relatively reclusive people, this is not really healthy.

Human beings are social creatures, like it or not. Even if you think you don't like being around people, the fact is, you really need to be sometimes. It's just human nature.

I am not an outgoing person. I am not particularly social. I don't like big crowds or parties. But, even being relatively reclusive, being completely alone is not always fun. I don't necessarily want to socialize, but I like knowing someone's there ... somewhere.

I have a husband, and a dog. My dog keeps me company while my husband is at work all day. She's a wonderful, sweet dog. She'll lie by my side all day while I paint. That's great. But she's not a human.

Sometimes I just need to be around people. Sometimes I want to interact with them, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I just want to have them around somewhere, even if I don't necessarily want to interact with them.

So, after hours and hours of work in the lonely studio, what do you do when you need to get out and be around people?

Artist associations are a good start. In many areas, there are lots of local art associations to become members of that have monthly meetings, as well as occasional shows and outings.

Unfortunately, in some areas there are not a lot of active associations, so what then? For me, it seems, there are a lot fewer active artist associations in the Seattle area, where I now live, than there were in the Los Angeles area, where I used to live. So what now?

Well, what other things are you interested in? Think about other things you like which may be art related in some way. I am a wildlife artist so I can look for groups in my area that are interested in wildlife. For example the Eastside Audubon group in my area has weekly bird watching outings.

There's also the local Sierra Club for nature lovers.

If you're not a wildlife artist, what is related to your art? Do you do landscapes? Join a plein-air group. Do you do portraits? Many local art supply stores, schools, or art associations have weekly life drawing sessions. Do you do florals? Join a garden club or your local botanical society.

If you can't find something related to your art, consider other things you like. I know many artists feel if it's not art related, they shouldn't be doing it. They need to be living and breathing art 24/7. But you can't, and shouldn't, live in an art bubble. You need to be around people occasionally, whether it's art related or not. So consider groups that have things you're interested in, even if they aren't art related. If you're not sure where to find groups in your area that have similar interests, there's always Meetup.com. You can find groups of just about any interest there, from book lovers to tornado chasers.

And remember, sometimes being around non-artists is a better way of networking. If you're a landscape artist and only spend your free time around other landscape artists, you're not likely to meet new buyers there. The other landscape artists already have their walls full of their own art. You need to connect with people who love landscapes but aren't artists. Groups like the Sierra Club, or your local botanical society, are more likely to connect you to people who love landscape art and might actually want to buy yours.

If none of this works for you, remember you can always just go sit and draw or paint in a park by yourself. Sometimes just watching other people walking, talking, laughing, and playing can be uplifting.

1 comment:

Colette Theriault said...

I can totally relate to your post Crista and how you spend your day souds pretty much like me, except I have 2 grown kids who can more or less take care of themselves (but can't live without me). I enjoyed reading your post and agree with your suggestions. I hope you are joining organizations like you mention...otherwise, when you get lonely or bored, drop me a line!

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