As I've reflected on my own journey and the journey's of the literally hundreds of artists who are a part of my Created to Thrive Artist Mentorship program I now understand there are basically stages an artist goes through on their journey of creativity. Most artists stop somewhere along the way but for those who refuse to give up, they reap the rewards of perseverance.
All artists start here, creating from a place of passion, connection and expression. The focus for the hobbyists is creating for their own enjoyment. Hobbyists pursue their art at their leisure and don't always have a dedicated space to create. Hobbyists enjoy the freedom of creating when inspiration strikes - once a week, a couple of times a month or even a few times a year – and often continue to create because of the spiritual connection they feel when creating. Main challenges facing these artists include frustration with lack of skill, perfectionism, dedicating time to create, connecting with other creatives for community and beliefs around their own identity as artists.
After creating for some time as a hobbyist, these artists begin to develop a passion for more focused pursuit of their art. They are serious about developing more skill, spending more time on their artistic development and are starting to sell their work to others. Emerging artists are beginning to develop the basics of their art business including things like website, printed materials, professional photography, dedicated studio space and applying for shows. Main challenges facing these artists include renewing their mind to align with God's Word rather than their own experience or beliefs, building healthy relationships with other artists who are on the same journey and balancing time to create with relationships and administrative tasks required to launch an art business (marketing, bookkeeping, communications, social media).
The professional artist has moved through the stages of hobbyist and emerging artist after several years of honing their skills and developing their unique creative voice. This artist usually has a dedicated studio space, spends time creating on a daily basis and regularly pursues selling their work via social networks, shows, commissions and other venues. They have developed their own unique marketing brand and are working to connect with those who connect with their creative voice via their website, social media, printed media and referrals. Main challenges facing these artists include cultivating fresh creativity while building upon the success they've experienced, asking for help from professionals in order to grow their businesses to the next level, cashflow and time management. Also, as an artist experiences success, it's even more important to keep their life and art centered in a vital relationship with Jesus.
This artist is living the dream, having moved from hobbyist to emerging artist, professional and now thriving in their chosen pursuits. Thriving artists create what they love in a dedicated studio space while selling their work for top dollar to clients who seek out their work. Their life is marked by creative fulfillment, financial abundance, meaningful relationships and spiritual connection. These artists have developed a niche of clients who authentically connect with them and their work as reflected by their willingness to purchase and refer them to their circle of influence. Main challenges facing these artists include balancing time with family and friends vs time given to their business and art pursuits, cultivating a thriving relationship with the Holy Spirit and taking time to give back to others along the journey who need to know what they've learned over the years.
No matter where you are on your journey as an artist, God wants to use you for His Glory in order to release His Life and Light into the world. You can be the thriving artist God designed you to be... if you're willing to start aligning with Him.
If that's you, I'd love to show you how I've helped hundreds of artists just like you achieve and surpass their goals and live the life they were created to live. Find out more...
Matt Tommey is an artist, author and mentor who is passionate about empowering artists to thrive spiritually, artistically and in business.