A little under three years ago I was just getting back into the studio after having my second child. I was just getting back into creating when I heard about Etsy and thought that by promoting and controlling the sales of my work without the help of a gallery that I might just be able to find my path to my true livelihood. My work doesn't fit into the typical gallery genre in Vancouver so I thought if I broadened my scope to world-wide that surely I would find a market for my work. Thanks to my online exposure I've been able to reach a much bigger audience than ever before. For several years now I've been promoting, marketing, connecting and learning as much as I can to forge a career as an online artist. It's been a great learning experience and I'm pretty proud of the amount I've accomplished.
Here's the catch.....I have found that I have a real problem with selling my artwork, or rather NOT selling my artwork and feeling as though that's a reflection of my self-worth. I struggle with any large dips in sales and wonder if there is something wrong with me as a person. I know this kind of sounds silly but it still happens to me. Because I have wanted to be an artist for so long and have felt that being creative is really where my talents are, I get down on myself when I feel no one is willing to pay me for those talents. I can get paid (minimally) for baking and for serving diners or working at a bookstore but I almost always pay to create and share my artwork. "Do what you love and the money will follow" still hasn't happened for me. I think it's following a bit too far behind and my persistence and optimism is being drained. I know that I can't give up creating (I've tried several times before) but I think I need to release the pressure to sell my creations as a livelihood. I need to find a way to make a living creatively AND happily.
I will be closing my shop starting June 1 for an indefinite amount of time so that I can really examine what I need in my life, what I need to be happy. I will still be blogging and tweeting because I've found my online friends, you, to be a great source of encouragement and inspiration. I do hope you keep checking and sharing your ideas with me. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and how you've dealt with any money versus creativity issues. Am I the only one?