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Sales Don’t Determine Your Art’s Worth - You Do
You are the only judge of the success or failure of each piece.
If you value your art with your soul’s intuition, the result is joy. If you value your art with the market the result is pride. The first is a fact and the second is an opinion.
We’ve been discussing in many of our articles that art must start from your soul. It must flow from your inspiration. And, if we accept that as a truth, it brings up an important point: when your soul is inspired and you must create a work of art around the idea, that artwork is being created first and foremost for you. And if you create it for yourself, then it is entirely possible that very few people “out there in the world”, if any, will understand or want to live with this piece.
When you release a piece of art, it may not sell, at least not right away. It may not even get any engagement on social media. It has been said that “what gets measured, gets managed.” If you are tracking any measurable metrics around your art such as sales, likes, views on your website, then you may be disappointed if you are judging the artwork’s value based on these metrics.
The solution is simple: don’t determine your art’s worth by sales (or any other metric).
I realize this is a difficult idea to truly internalize because, for example, let’s say you post a new piece of art to Instagram, and it starts to get engagement, that is exciting! It will give you energy. It may inspire you to create even more of your art. And, if you sell a piece, that means someone liked it enough to part with hard earned money. These are exciting ideas! And there’s nothing wrong with letting them excite you, but, if these things don’t happen, you must not let it depress you. Once you create the art, if it is inspired, and you are happy with it, then you are the only judge that matters and that piece was a success. Move on to the next one.
If the market hails it as a triumph - take the accolades and move on to the next piece.
If the market replies with crickets - don’t worry about it and move on to the next piece.
That’s what professionals do.
This is why it’s so important to not get in a position of absolutely needing the next piece of art to sell to pay your bills. Desperation, or an undying desire to escape a hated job, will color your vision and these metrics will take on an importance that they don’t deserve. If that happens you will suffer and when you suffer, the work will suffer.
Accept that you are the only judge of the success or failure of each piece. Once you internalize that idea, you maximize your chances of a work being inspired and having that spark that it needs, ironically, for other people to get excited about it. Allow yourself to immerse yourself in the creative process. Allow yourself to enjoy it. Be calm and gentle with yourself. Open yourself up to creation and notice the beauty that is there. It’s almost a Zen koan - if you focus on the sales or lack thereof, they will be more difficult to come by, but if you forget about the sales and internalize that they don’t matter, they are more likely to start happening.
BoldBrush Founder & Art Fanatic