Learning to draw and paint are only part of what an artist needs to do to create a art career. Learning the business of art is a study of it's own. Years ago I signed up for a year of career coaching with Art Matters. It is the best! I highly recommend working with Aletta de Wal if you want to learn everything you can about how to develop your art business. I'm honored that this month I am the featured artist interview with Aletta. Here's the info from the Art Matters newsletter:
In This Issue of Art Matters, Aletta de Wal interviews artist Cristina Acosta
Words to ACT on: Featured Artist Cristina Acosta
In August 2001, I went to a local juried art fair that had a reputation for high quality art for collectors and good sales with low commissions for the artists. As I browsed the booths, I discovered a book that was very familiar to me. One of the artists who had done storytelling workshops in my gallery space in the late 90's had used that very book. Now here was the artist who had illustrated it!
Everything about Cristina, her art and her booth was first class. Since then, Cristina has many new experiences to relate about how to make a living as an artist and still have a life.
Cristina Acosta's background is as diverse as her work throughout the years. Finding the voice of her art was directly tied to the challenge of finding the voice of her culture. Acosta has a large visual vocabulary that speaks for itself in the seamless union between the fine and applied arts apparent in all her creations. Acosta's work is "exuberant art, rich colors and vivid patterns"; filled with "joyful spirit and colorful compositions."
Cristina has had a web site since 1994 - even before she had her own computer! She admits to not knowing it came with e-mail! Take a look at what, today, she calls the "the lobby" of her "business." Her advice: "Make your web site represent you as a person first and your work second. If you make your site imitate your work, your work confines you."
Professionally mentored in Southern California since the age of 11, Acosta received her Bachelor of Fine Arts, in Painting, from the University of Eugene in Oregon. She followed up her education with a position at Central Oregon Community College teaching art, and then worked with a variety of media, including illustrating a children's book and mixed media paintings. She also developed a signature line of ceramic art tile. Cristina has a new book, "Paint Happy," published by Northlight Books, introduces Cristina's work to artists everywhere.
She will be sharing her stories with the A.C.T. 101 community in September.
A.C.T.: What prompted you to start your professional art career?
Being an artist is a calling that I committed to at age 20 (28 years ago). At the time I had no idea what a professional artist did besides paint well. I slid into the business side of my art career when I began painting store windows with commercial designs as a way to pay for my college art degree. As my opportunities (and skills) increased, it dawned on me that I had a business.
A.C.T.: What is your artistic direction?
Writing is my new artistic direction. Developing my skills as a writer has enabled me to better market my painting and my other creative interests. At the beginning of my career I thought that I would paint every day for the rest of my life. Maturity combined with a curious mind has led me to a more varied career. My creative career is no longer confined to my easel, it shapes and colors my life.
A.C.T.: What is your business model?
My business model is an organically lively model that changes over the years with the market and my interests. The latest version of my business plan involves eBooks and Blogging, two things that weren't even invented when I began my professional life. Keeping my business model current brings to my attention the professional issues I need to pay attention to.
A.C.T.: What is your "life's work" as an artist?
The answer to that is one that I continually discover. When I first started applying myself to my work I thought of myself only as a painter. Now, I realize that my life's work is to become consciously creative in all aspects of my life, and to share my work with others.
A professional approach yields a profession. Without that, I would be back where I started from without any of the experience I have now. Dedicating myself to self-development both as an artist AND as a business person has made all of the difference. That is why I am so excited about Aletta's work and the difference it can make in your life.
Follow the advice in the A.C.T. programs she puts together and you'll save yourself years of trial and error.
A.C.T.: What advice would you pass on to other artists at all levels?
Keep working, seeing, feeling and connecting! Enjoy yourself!
You may become a famous artist, a kinda famous artist, or not. Fame and exterior success are not a product of only hard work and perseverance, there is a lot of luck involved. Live your art in such a way that if nobody buys a thing, you'll feel like you enriched your own life and those of your companions in life.
A.C.T.: How has your involvement in the A.C.T. program and community of professional artists furthered your career?
Making art is only half of the creative work. Sharing it is the other half. It was important enough to make, so don't leave your work to be ignored, get it out into the world.
Artist Career Training is for any artist who is ready to share their work. Your goal could be as simple as a local exhibit or as complex as a viable professional career. Even if you don't know what your goal is yet, A.C.T. is for you. The study materials, classes and community will support you as your creative and professional world unfolds. I consider myself lucky to have discovered the A.C.T. program. I highly recommend Artist Career Training for any artist.
You can read the rest of Cristina's interview and review the past featured artists at www.artistcareertraining.com/featured-artists/.
Artist Career Training TeleClasses to Help You Build a Better Living From Your Art
Note From ART MATTERS:
If you are an emerging artist, A.C.T. One is the place to start. If you already have an art business and want to pace yourself, we also have a 12 to 24-month pathway in the combination of A.C.T. 101: Starting Your Art Business and A.C.T. 201: Developing Your Art Business. And if you are already established, we have a group of peers just for you in A.C.T. 301: Mastering Your Art Business. We have classes, books and knowledgeable experts and generous artists waiting for you. What are you waiting for? A.C.T. now!
Aletta de Wal, M. Ed, Director & Artist Advisor, Direct line: (650) 917-1225 Pacific time
View ArtMatters! online: www.artistcareertraining.com/artmatters-newsletter/
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