I used to believe I could make art for the masses, like those huge abstract paintings.
But I really cannot. I have to concentrate on connecting to myself and allowing my Self to come through and dictate color, composition, style, elements — all of it.
If I made things I thought the 'masses' would buy, I would lose the part of art that is therapy for me. I would be worried too much about what other people thought and liked. And art is the one place where I don't worry about that; where I am fully myself and fully embracing of what it is that I want to express.
If I got wrapped up in making things because I need (note the word need, here) to sell them, they would be shallow and boring. My art would look like everyone else's.
I got wrapped up in a marketing course a few years ago that I thought would be the end all, be all and would help me sell my work all over the world. I never gave this person money, thank goddess, but I did devote a LOT of time to watching their videos. I wanted an easy way out (I'm inherently lazy, afterall.).
But, one of the things they said is if you want to sell a handmade something on etsy or on your own site, you should look at what the top selling thing is (like if you want to make wall decals, look at the top wall decal store on etsy) and improve on it and make it, too.
So I did the research and I found that the top-selling art on etsy are animal art prints on dictionary pages, like this:
And well, it's not very original if there are a million shops doing this, right? These are literally printed on the dictionary or old book page, they aren't even painted on. And people LOVE these. I've seen this kind of thing hung up in my friends' houses.
(I also had no idea how to make this idea better, nor did I have the desire to do this just because it was popular.)
That's when I realized I didn't want to buy that marketing course because I am unwilling to bend to what popularity says I should do.
I’d rather forge my own style with practice (which I have) and earn every follower and sale with authentic work that speaks from my soul.
And I suppose that is the real issue -- be an artist making things for yourself without much money coming to you, or spend your artistic talents painting a million birch trees (which are also super popular) without much soul to them and get paid.
I suppose it's starving in one way or another.
I found a 3rd way: Create what I want to and don’t worry about sales, and work a full-time job that is also creative. I’m not saying this way is easy (especially not with a husband and child), but I’m making it work. I carve out time to paint every evening.
I have a note in my google doc for my art business that says "Know that this will be a rollercoaster. Know that there will be hard work. Know that not everything is going to be roses." and also
"You're the tits, Sarah Trumpp says so."
And... because I want to focus on connecting with my Self, I don't really paint anywhere but in my art journal. Otherwise, I get too wrapped up in whether or not someone else would like the painting and buy it. In my art journal, I'm painting for myself and my Self. I am focused on expressing emotions, remembering things and loving where I am in my life. That's a big deal.
PS: I'm blogging along with Effy Wild in April. If you'd like to join the facebook group to read the rules, go here: