I make my living as a full-time vocational artist, speaker, author and leader of an artist mentoring group. Because of that dynamic, I get asked one question a lot in almost every situation I find myself. It goes something like this: "I'm a (fill in the blank) artist and I want to start selling my work (or start making money, start thriving, etc) but I just can't seem to choose a direction. I like everything. What should I do?"
This question and ones like it encapsulate the dilemma in which many emerging artists find themselves; that is how to go from the proverbial here to there. How do I move from being a hobbyist to a more serious part-time or full-time artist. It's a big frustration for many that keeps them up at night, causes confusion and even anxiety about their purpose in life. However, it doesn't have to be that way.
I want to compare and contract the way hobbyists approach their art practice vs the way professional artists approach theirs. This is not to say that all hobbyists are immature or that all professionals have 'made it'... However, in my experience in working with artists and from my own journey, these attributes are true for many. Hopefully this comparison will give you some insight into where you are now and how to start moving in the direction you want... to be a thriving artist!
Find out more about my Created To Thrive Artist Mentoring Program where I'm helping artists of almost every creative medium learn to thrive creatively, spiritually and financially.
3/1/2017 10:22:41 am
This is really helpful, Matt! Plain and clear, I can see where I stand in each category. Now I can focus more on the weak areas while being encouraged by the growth I've already had in others. Thank you!
3/18/2017 09:01:49 pm
Great article! Clear and (in my experience) accurate differentiation between hobbyists and pros. Sometimes all we need is a clear picture so we can see how to step from one to the other. Thankful to be moving forward and loving the process!
3/20/2017 11:15:53 am
This is excellent! I'm a mom about to launch my youngest to college. I'm transitioning from hobby to semi-pro, I think. My husband and I run a community theater group. But Holy Spirit is prompting both Rich and me saying, "You need to paint." I've already been asked to speak about my paintings to our best art guild in the area and a member subsequently paid my first year fee to have me join the group. But I have A LOT of work to do. This article really helps. Thanks.
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Matt Tommey is an artist, author and mentor who is passionate about empowering artists to thrive spiritually, artistically and in business.