It's one thing to focus on your on-line presence, your business skills and your industry status - but it's equally important to remember what drives you as an artist. We live in a world where money is most certainly a driving force, in a world that is focused heavily on financial success and freedom. It's funny because we are given advice from the greats that suggest we "follow our dreams" and stay true to our hearts. Funny, because it sounds great, but how do we pay the bills if our dream is to be a painter, a photographer or a musician? Unless you're an overnight success (Gangnam Style), I'm betting that you'll need to work in a field that doesn't really match your dream, or in a job that bores you to death. This is a part of life right? We know that money shouldn't be what drives us, but more often than not it is what gets us up in the mornings.
Mid 2007 I made some serious, drastic changes to my life. One of them was to quit a secure job with excellent pay. Another was sell my house and my dream car...and finally, decide that I had to give this "living the dream" thing a fair go. So I sat down and thought about what that dream could be. I've always loved photography, film and images. These art forms have constantly made me happy throughout my life....and continue to do so. Problem is, how the heck was I going to survive as an artist!!?? Balance. That pesky word that solves everything. So simple.....so annoying! So for the fist few years I was driven by this amazing feeling of artistic, soul aligning enthusiasm. I couldn't care less that I was broke and didn't have money for nice clothes or premium unleaded to fill up the Version 6 WRX STi that I didn't have anymore. I was so utterly happy to be following my dream and developing my style as a cinematographer - there was no balance. There was no money hehe :) So, it was time to think like a business man. Time to give this money making thing a go. Once again, for the next couple of years, I tipped the scales and focused all of my energy into my business. My art suffered....and as a result, so did I! I was so focused on building a successful name and business for myself, that I never had time to shoot! It began to depress me. So then came 2010. I was sitting there scratching my head, asking myself "how can I do both?", "how can I live the dream as an artist AND be financially successful!?". Did you know that asking "how" is a billion times more powerful than asking "why?". If I asked myself "why can't you live the dream as an artist AND be financially successful?" I assure you my clever brain would have responded with something like "because you don't have enough time to do both" or "because in this day and age, you can't do both unless you're mates with George Lucas". So, I don't want to start sounding like Tony Robbins here, but the day I explored the answers to my "how", I began to create a balance.
The inspiration to write about this came to me when I stumbled across this business card in the back of my fake Gucci wallet.
It was given to me by a guy named Seb at a short film night called Shed Cinema - run by Matt Cleaves and George Clipp. When I asked for his card, he said "sure, pick which one you like best :)". As you can see, Seb is a super talented artist. Each card was hand drawn and completely different....I was amazed. I always wanted to be a ninja as a kid (my other dream hehe) so this card was an easy choice.
Looking at it again, I was inspired and reminded about what drives me as an artist and how awesome it is to get lost in that creative place....how awesome it is to follow that dream and how good it feels to actually CREATE and share art. No wonder I forgot about money.....but now my focus is on balance. How can I be a pure and passionate artist, AND earn a very good living as a result? My brain is already giving me some fine suggestions ;)
Master your craft, listen to what makes you happy as an artist...but dot forget to eat.
Check out Seb's website www.sebfowler.com. We can't wait to get him to story-board our next shoot! If you get the chance to meet him in person, I dare you to ask him for his business card :)