Action: Reaction: Action (or What To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up)

There are moments in an artist’s career when it seems like the best course of action is to give up. Have you ever felt that way?

I have, and this is one of those moments.

 

Leisa having a mini nervous breakdown. Have YOU felt this way?! 

Leisa having a mini nervous breakdown. Have YOU felt this way?! 

I have taken all of the recommended courses of action that individuals, schools, the public, and gallery owners have recommended I take, and still feel like I have not achieved a good many of my primary career goals.  I am a pretty positive person when it comes to my art: I adore what I do, I am obsessed with it, I never face dry spells when it comes to coming up with ideas indeed, I have millions of unrealized and fabulous concepts floating around in this cranium! I am an energizer bunny, a whirling dervish, a person who is committed to “doing” yet lately I find myself waffling, avoiding, doing anything BUT what I love to do most.

I am waiting for an epiphany. 

While I wait - I am never idle, thanks to a mother in whose house one would NEVER be allowed to not be productive! - the action I decided to take was “out with the old”. I spent the better part of several days in a frenzy of preparation, and last weekend had a studio sale that I combined with a garage sale to part with some of my work. It was successful- several pieces sold- but I am still left with a LOT of work. I also realized recently that I have spread myself too thinly, that it was time to take charge and streamline what I do, placing importance on...the most important! So, out with the superfluous.

 

Crazy garage and art sale...everything going, going, going until it is GONE! 

Crazy garage and art sale...everything going, going, going until it is GONE! 

I will continue to sell, or even give away, anything left. I have plans to hide work in the woods around town and document its demise over the course of the following year. Purge.

 

More work for sale! 

More work for sale! 

(in)CONSEQUENTIAL by Leisa Rich will soon get hidden in a variety of locations to become one with the earth, or to be discovered and adopted by its finders.... 

(in)CONSEQUENTIAL by Leisa Rich will soon get hidden in a variety of locations to become one with the earth, or to be discovered and adopted by its finders.... 

(in)CONSEQUENTIAL by Leisa Rich will soon get hidden in a variety of locations to become one with the earth, or to be discovered and adopted by its finders....here is the view at Swan Coach House gallery

(in)CONSEQUENTIAL by Leisa Rich will soon get hidden in a variety of locations to become one with the earth, or to be discovered and adopted by its finders....here is the view at Swan Coach House gallery

From the Ground, Up by Leisa Rich, also part of the installation (in)CONSEQUENTIAL that will soon get hidden in a variety of locations to become one with the earth, or to be discovered and adopted by its finders....  

From the Ground, Up by Leisa Rich, also part of the installation (in)CONSEQUENTIAL that will soon get hidden in a variety of locations to become one with the earth, or to be discovered and adopted by its finders....  

detail of From the Ground, Up by Leisa Rich

detail of From the Ground, Up by Leisa Rich

Once that happens, I will be in the reaction stage…now, what do I do? Once the old work is gone and the slate is somewhat clean, what then? I will be forced to confront and rework my goals. I will have to react to the action I took, in order to take a new course of action.

If something is NOT working the way we want it to, just how DO we figure out what will work? Would the plan below work for you? Tell me what you think...add to it...weigh in on this for the benefit of all of us!

*Talk with trusted friends in the business of art. Ask their HONEST opinion. What do they like best about the work you show them? What do they like least? Be brave- beg for the truth. Then decide what you agree with and what should get tossed out with the bathwater.

Get your friends and co-workers' honesty!!!!

Get your friends and co-workers' honesty!!!!

*Do the same thing with friends NOT in the art world.  Their opinion is valid in other important ways! They are often your customers.

*Research other artists who have been successful within YOUR definition of success. Where have they gotten financial support to do “big” things such as installations? What is it about their work that entices people to buy? How do they promote/market themselves? What is their attitude? Where do they find customers?

*How much are you willing to compromise?

*How “commercial” are you willing to adapt your vision to in order for its marketability to increase? This has been my biggest challenge: giving up my personal vision and style, which is not a very mainstream one, in favor of a “body of work” that I don’t feel connected to but might sell.

Move forward. 

Action: Reaction: Action. We can’t ever give up…even when we feel like we should.

I am going to focus on my plan of action, and move forward. How about YOU?!