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should I quit art?

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should I quit art?

Postby jimdlemons » Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:24 pm

I have been struggling with feeling like I am not a good artist or anything like that. I have created for so many years but I can't find a place in Boulder, colorado to show and am wondering if I am just bad. This sounds silly but I am really struggling and haven't been able to afford to do anything for many years because I can't get work since about 2002. I have been working odd jobs and am wondering if I just am a bad artist or something. Maybe I just never realized it.
Can anyone give me some feed back on that?
I have tried to contact artist's in the Bolder area to ask for help in finding some contacts but I only get answers like they are too busy to talk or anything else.
http://www.angelfire.com/art/Lemons
is the only site I have now, check it out and let me know what you think.
Thanks
Jim Lemons
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Postby Singular » Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:21 pm

Hey Jim,
You have got some talent. There is no reason you wouldn't be able to find work in the graphic design arena. You are a very good illustrator/drawer and that is important. Your computer skills are also very good. Are you trying to get into galleries or have you been appying to graphic jobs? I recommend you get your resume out there on Career Builder or Monstor jobs, with keywords like graphic design. I am pretty positive you would get some calls. Trust me, I have looked for graphic design jobs in the past and they all look for people who can use the software that you already know well.

good luck,
Joe
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thanks so much for the reply

Postby jimdlemons » Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:06 pm

I really appreciate your comments and suggestions. I am trying to not lose sight of what has inspired me for years, the creating, that is and am feeling kind of out there on my own. A very lonesome place let me tell you. You reply was of much import to me being the person you are and I feel like I will follow up on the suggestion for certain. Thanks again,
Jim
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Postby Erika Takacs » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:48 am

Hi Jim,

No, you're not a bad artist and no, you shouldn't quit. I think what you're going through probably every artist goes through at least once in their lifetime. Maybe you need to decide what is that you like to do most, and focus on that with all your energy. When I look at your site I see a lot of different styles and directions. I wonder if that's causing some of your problems. You may need to leave some of it behind...I like your "Spirit Woman 2" style very much and your "Dervishes". And I'd go with those two styles for a while. But that's just one opinion.

I hope others will join with their suggestions as well to help you a little with your dilemma. You might want to post some of your works in our critique forums for a more detailed review as well.

Good luck and hang in there, :)
Erika
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Re: should I quit art?

Postby DeDeSorensen » Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:05 pm

Hi Jim,
No, I don't believe you should quit art. However, the type of work on your website is more suited toward commercial illustration than fine art gallery exhibition. Looking at your resume, your career objective seems to indicate that you wish to continue in the illustration vein. Therefore, I would suggest you stop spinning your tires looking for exhibition opportunities and instead concentrate on making more contacts in the illustration field, as well as, polish your marketing materials and send out direct mail campaigns directed to those companies that are suited to your skill set and interests. You can find contact information in the current edition of the Artists & Graphic Designers Market book (available through most major book sellers like B&N and Amazon). Let me know if I can be of further assistance to you.
:) DeDe
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Thanks again...

Postby jimdlemons » Wed Mar 07, 2007 4:59 pm

I wanted to thank you guys for taking the time to answer my post. I have been out of work as a graphic designer since 2002 and can't find work doing that, not so much gallery stuff, I guess what I said in my original post was mis-leading. I have applied and applied, I am at this point on food stamps and working at a video rental place. I can't even get feed-back off my resume. I have no money to do any mailing of any kind and can't really move from the area since my son lives here and I have him 40% time. He is very much in need of me being here for reasons I won't go into. I have had to sell almost everything I have owned and used up most all of my personal resources to keep my self afloat here. Now though I am suffering from distimea( a form of depression) and am struggling to just see a reason, other than my son, to stay around period. I have sent out materials in the past and gotten nothing back, not even a call or anything.
So I must agian thank you for the time you have given me and I have a copy of the Artist Market book, but thanks for the suggestion.
I am not sure what to do now and will have to find some way to make things work again. I want to work and feel like I am doing things again but boy this is all quite hard to over come.
Thanks again,
jim L
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Postby Singular » Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:11 pm

Hey Jim,
I have looked at a lot of resumes in my day and know a few people in the recruiting industry and can tell you one thing. It doesn't matter how good you are or what you know. If your resume doesn't look like what they want it to, they won't even look at it. I highly recommend that you work on your resume and highlight the skills that the companies are looking form. Here is a sample resume that I came across that is very good. It may be a good idea to model your resume after something like this.

Image

good luck Jim,
Joe
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Postby Erika Takacs » Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:14 pm

Jim, that's a really tough place to be in and sometimes you need to hit the bottom before you are able to get up and start functioning again. You do have talent, some of your work is really really good. You need to keep trying. There's no other way around it. So believe in yourself and keep trying, ok? Like Joe said rewrite your resume, it should help. Good luck,
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Postby pyewacket » Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:54 pm

I just really had to respond to you thread here--cause believe me you're not the only one who has been struggling---
Frist I think every artist questions their worth and talent---somedays we feel on top of the world and are creative geniuses, and other times, probably more often than not, we look and scrutinize our work and think its a bunch of crap---artists tend to be their own worst critics--
I too have had so many set-backs in my life it's not funny--I used to be a fairly successful freelance photographer and was regularly published between the years of 1980 to 1996--despite I might add, while struggling with panic disorder with agoraphobia. There was one time in my life that I was completely housebound and couldn't leave at all.

Then I had to stop all my photo work by around 1996--and no, not because of my disorder but because of a situation my mother created, which got out of hand very, very quickly--she created an over-population of cat problem--And it was like all my hopes of overcoming my problem were out the window, because even though she created the problem, she did nothing absolutely nothing to help out--it was left to me to deal with--and I was cleaning our apt from the moment I woke up until going to bed--By 1996 there were about 40 cats in our small apt....oh, but it didn't stop there--by 2001 we were being threatened with evicition--don't even ask how many cats we had by then! None of it and I mean none of it even had to happen in the first place--all my mom had to do was take one of the pair of unfixed cats to a vet and none of the mess would have happened--I couldn't take the cats to a vet, since while I wasn't at the time housebound, I just couldn't travel by public transportation--my last really big panic attack was on the subway--so, like I just couldn't go. But there was nothing to prevent my mom.
So yes, we did manage to
ing the pop. of cats down a lot by adopting out the cats---but not enough--for years I lived in fear of being found out that we still had a lot of cats and be threatened with eviction again---and sure enough, just last year my mom and I were--I finally managed and arranged to solve the situation once and for all and was able to place the cats with rescuers upstate NY---I had to arrange for lawyers, etc etc---My mom pretty much left it all up to me to handle----and it took me ages to realize--actually some few years ago, that my mom wasn't exactlly "all there"--they always say you can see a problem when it's right in front of you--in other words my mother just wasn't exactly living in reality--and she was a good actress and lier even to me....Through it all its a wonder I didn't have a meltdown, cause right smack in the middle of the eviction issue, my mom was hospitalized and passed away--terrific.... :shock:

Now the ten or so years I didn't do any of my photo work due to the cat business--I used to do studio shots and develop my black and white film and prints at home--- has cost me dearly--Its like I have to learn the business all over again--the new rules of the ball game so to speak--and I'm doing it all on very, very limtied funds...only $710 SSI disability---

Yet with all the obvious barriers up against me--I refuse to give up--maybe I'm just too stubborn, or stupid---YEs I question my talents all the time--but if you're anything like me, I think deep inside, you know you are talented...also, if you're like me, the arts are the ONLY thing that maybe means something to you...what gives you bliss...a sense of worth--and I did peek at your site and all I can say you do have a lot of talent!!!

With all my set backs, like I said, I refuse to give up---somewhere along the line things will click!! It will for you too!! So don't give up!


I invite you to take a peek at my site--LOL

http://melneer.tripod.com
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thanks for the support

Postby jimdlemons » Sun Mar 18, 2007 10:37 pm

thanks and I hope you do well, you have some good photos. I went to your site. I know it takes many steps but I am just kind of running on a couple of hundred dollars a month and food for my son(12 yrs) and I comes 1st. So there is not much to buy anything extra whether it's clothes or art stuff. I have been out of work for many years ( depression) and used all my resources up. I have sold most everything to live and now that I am not depressed or needing medication for it even I am pretty overwhelmed by what I need to do to make it day to day, and what it will take to get back on board with a freelance career too. I will never quit doing creative stuff, but I get pretty daunted by the big picture sometimes.
Thanks to all for the help and suggestions though.
Jim
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on lacking confidance as an artist

Postby serwilliams » Wed Apr 25, 2007 1:02 pm

My heart went out to Jim, after reading his post. I totally relate to how he feels. I question my talent most of the time, and have had very few sales. I don't have anthing posted here at Singular Creation but do have a web site, and have tried other online stores. Hang in there Jim, I imagine most artists would tell you they are their worst critics, and there is a reason why the term, "starving artist" was coined. It's a tough way to make a living. It's good that you came here to voice your feelings, and hope some of the feedback was helpful. ~ Sherry
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Don't Quit! Get focused....

Postby clvngodess » Mon May 07, 2007 9:39 am

I understand how you feel. It can be frustrating. I'd like to give you some real honest feedback, as an art director.

When I land on your site the first thing I notice is it's lack of professional layout. I'm sorry, but it's a little too homemade to sing "I am a master of my craft and I all that I do, all that I package reflects this."

Presentation and first impressions say a great deal. You may want to spend some time doing the following: 1. go to a company like GoDaddy and purchase a web domain for 9 dollars. With it comes a free web hosting account. Nothing says professional like having your own dot com. (i.e. www.yourname.com) 2. Maybe use one of their templates to post a clean a professional looking website. 3. Do the website yourself or hire a web master, or student if budget is an issue to help you create one that sells your talent.

The next thing I observed was a lack of focus. I can't tell what it is you do.

What do you really want to do? Here in lies the rub. People hiring creative don't care that you can do 800 things good. They want to hire specialized talent to get a specific job done well and under deadline and budget. Period.

We want to see that one thing you excel at above all else. Your graphic design is good, but there is something else you do better. I think you know what it is.

So, what do you want to do? What is it you love to do all day that you would like to be paid for but really don't mind doing for free because you love it?

Diversity often comes off as Jack of all Trades, Master of None. When you are selling graphic design, sell graphic design. Don't muddy the waters. When you are selling illustration, sell just that. Don't confuse us, we don't have the time to sort it all out. Don't make the art director work to figure out what it is you do. You won't get the gig.

If it were me, I'd
eak up your porfolios into separate websites and market them individually.

Here's a little hint about having too much talent: some employers will gladly hire you because of all your talents. They'll hire you to do layouts and then come to expect you to compose ad copy, draw illustrations and logos and more. Only they aren't going to pay you for these extra talents because they figure they've got it all bundled into you for the wage you negotiated for the one job.

Now for useability. There's too much work for me to do to see your showcase of work. That's not good. You want to make it easy for the end user, the guy hiring, to look at your body of work. If we have to jump through pages and pages and pages of stuff, we won't. We'll move on to the next portfolio.

So keep it clean and simple. Remember, you want to land the gig, not frustrate the guy writing the check.

By the way, your comic book art is really, really good stuff. Why aren't you shopping it?

We all have to do go through the process of doing what it takes to keep a roof overhead and food in the belly. It's simply the way it is. Very few get to the top right away. So do what you have to in order to survive and pay the bills and when you get off work, get online and start doing the research. Be proactive. People need to know you are out there. Let them know.

Keep submitting your work. And remember, rejection is part of the game. So don't take it personally. Most of us doing the hiring are looking at the projects we have to deal with today. But that doesn't mean the door is closed forever.

Hope this helps.
Best wishes to you.
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thanks for the suggestions

Postby jimdlemons » Tue May 08, 2007 11:20 am

I appreciate your ideas and would take some of those steps if I could, but right now I have only a job at a video store as a clerk and am on food stamps, to feed my son and I. I don't even make enough money to update my computer system (I have a 1st generation Imac) or do things like take my son to a movie. I have been trying to get some help from the local mental health service for depression and am trying to hold on till my appointment with them.
I do appreciate your suggestions and your link to the comics inker ad though.
Sincerely,
Jim Lemons
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Postby clvngodess » Tue May 08, 2007 11:54 am

Don't look at your glass as half empty. It isn't. You have a job. No matter how humble it is, it is a job and there is honor in that. Kudos. (You are manifesting prosperity energy and everything in this life is about energy.)

So what if you are on food stamps? No indignity there. You have a child to feed. The fact that there is a safety net is a blessing. In turn you are blessing your child. What a tremendous gift. Good for you.

I was once on welfare and foodstamps, unemployed, facing eviction, dealing with the death of my first husband, extremely depressed, I had no resources and I was alone. For a short time, about 3 weeks, all I had to eat was two jars of home made olives. My foodstamps ration was less than 100 dollars per month. So I rationed my olives to 21 per day. It felt like I was in a deep dark pit that I would never be able to climb out.

That's the deception of depression. The truth is, life gets better if you choose it. All you have to do is take one little step toward hope. And there is always hope. I know. I'm living proof. (Sometimes it's as simple as taking a daily walk around the neighborhood. No joke.)

Don't attach to a lack of money. Money is merely energy, the energy we use to trade or barter. It's just currency. Remember, you deserve and are worth money. You have what it takes to make money. Remember, it is not what defines success alone. Look at your art work, that is successful. You are raising a son, that alone is success, the greatest success there is. Be grateful for all that you have. Then be grateful for all the wonder that is coming and that is yours.

Life is not easy and we are here to learn. Some of us are blessed with tough lessons. This is because we have big things to learn and to do. You have big things to learn and to do. It's because you have what it takes. Spirit wouldn't align you with this lesson if you didn't have what it takes to learn and grow and to give back. This makes you unique.

I had a Mac G3 until two years ago. I bought it in the mid-1990s. I made a lot of art using the old tools. Nothing wrong with old tools. We do what we can with what we have. I've made many pieces of art using house paint, and whatever else was on hand at the moment. That's creative process. That's genius. Many of us in the arts are put into the position of having to work with what is on hand. It makes us better at what we do.

Please don't let your circumstances stop you from being the artist that you are. They are just circumstances. They will pass. I promise, they will pass.

I'll share one last little thing. I did a massive p.r. campaign for my last solo show. 500 people came through my opening. I am still getting a huge amount of internet traffic to my website and blog and show came out last week. The cost of this? 30 dollars for postcards and postage. The rest was done over the internet, for free.

You can do this stuff too. Just take a small action every day. There is no such thing as overnight success. And you don't eat an elephant in one gulp. You eat it one bite at a time.

Finally, there is great power in asking for help when you need it.

Hang in there.
I wish you well and look forward to your successes.
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Thanks for being very supportive

Postby jimdlemons » Tue May 08, 2007 1:47 pm

I really do appreciate your positive outlook and have been trying to do more "mind over mood" type things. I know when I get some help with the depression/blood chemistry thing it will be easier, but for now I keep plugging along, doing what I can.
The hardest thing for me is generating energy to actually do things, I go on line and try to look for places but I lose forward motion quickly and that's hard to over come.
I have had numerous low money years and it has been hard to generate any perspective of "abundance" I try to think that way and things are getting harder and as an example last year I made 3 thousand dollars total for the year. Things like that make it hard to picture abundance and success and when I am picturing upward motion for me and my computer dies and phone gets turned off, it seems to slam me back down to feeling like it is not going to change. But I still try.
Really I am holding on to getting some help but other than the local mental health office, I am not sure who to ask for help, in regards to work.
You had said that my graphic design work is good but I do something better and I would assume you mean my illustration/comic style work. I am not sure who to shop that around to and have gotten very little feed back the times I have so I figured there wasn't anyone interested, maybe I am wrong.
Thanks again,
Jim Lemons
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Postby clvngodess » Tue May 08, 2007 4:16 pm

Yes, it's a real drag when it's raining sewage on your parade. I've been there. Didn't have a phone for 2 years, didn't have hot water for 1 year or heat. Had to heat water in a pot to heat my bath water. Cashed the food stamps in for coins to use the pay phone or for bus fare. It sucked.

I really get it. When it seems like it just keeps going down the drain, it's really hard to build motivation and momentum.

It's like taking on an exercise program. Just start with the taking of one action, regularly and consistently as is reasonable for your current situation. So don't try to lock it all down in one sitting. Maybe commit to one hour per week, after the child is down for the evening, on your day off, and spend some time looking for places to submit your work or the occaisional freelance gig.

Yes, your illustrative/comic work is really great.

Does your local public li
ary have computers with internet access? If so, this might be your back up plan for when things aren't going so well with your computer and electricity.

Craig's list is a place to look for small gigs or collaborative projects that pay, such as the link I sent you.

You may want to look up the submission policies for companies like Marvel and DC comics. Look to the smaller independent publishers as well. Look into greeting card companies, book publishers, the local newspaper--maybe create a comic strip of your own and see if they'll publish it.

Another venue, if your computer is up and running, is to offer your design and prepress services to local printing companies, real estate firms (agents always need stuff to send out and market with), various non-profits --non-profit does not mean no money-- the local church, your friends, etc. You can specialize if you want.

Maybe just do flyers for set fee. Doesn't have to be a work of art, just a clean layout/template. Customizable via fonts and text.

When I was going through really tough times, I layed out resumes for the out of work aerospace workers in my community. I did them for 25 dollars. Some days I did 5 or 6. Over the course of a month, it paid my rent while I was looking for a regular job.

If you have the time and tools, you can create content for clip art companies. In fact you can upload your own creations to services like istockphoto.com, I think it's free. There's no guarantees, but if you can create editorial content, you may very well earn a few bucks.

The key is to let people know you are out there. And keep letting them know you are out there. It will soon start to trickle in.

And I think you are doing the right thing by addressing the biochemical aspects of your situation. Take care of the physical and mental well being first, then get out and slay the dragons.

Be well, and I look forward to hearing about your successes.
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Thanks for all the encouragement! Sorry I was gone for a bit

Postby jimdlemons » Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:48 pm

Hello and thanks again for the great suggestions and all. I have had a bad bout of depression that made me unable to function for most of the last month. I have gotten some help from the local mental health center and am doing somewhat better. It was a rough month and I am hoping to get some work done.
thanks again and I hope everyone is doing well.
Sincerely,
Jim Lemons
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Postby Erika Takacs » Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:42 pm

Hi Jim, good to hear from you again. It's great that you get medical help, you'll get over this. Just hang in there, and if you do new work, don't forget to show us. Best wishes, Erika
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Postby cameraman_2 » Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:31 pm

I've been struggling trying to get started here. I've done photography for years and I have shot weddings for a few of those years. I would really like to do nature photography and most pros at it say, "Dont quit your day job." That isn't a good sign for me, but that is waht I want to do. I sure wouldn't say to quit by anymeans. I think the computer has slowed a lot of people. Since people can come up with something themselves then they don't really want to hire someone to make there graphic stuff anymore. I'm sure there is a market out there. I'd say you just need to convience them they need you and can't live without your work.
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Postby clvngodess » Thu Jun 07, 2007 8:50 am

Cameraman_2: And you'll continue to struggle. That's part of the creative life. It's good advice; don't quit your day job unless you have a means of support. To simply jump into freelance may not be the best choice. Especially if you don't have the client base and gigs to cover your living expenses. I'm thankful my home is a two income house. When it's good, it's good. But sometimes the business is seasonal, sometimes the clients have hard times, sometimes it simply slows down... sometimes for a long time. You must be prepared to do what it takes.

I think you are wrong about the computer slowing people down and not hiring people. There is a huge difference between what I do as well seasoned creative professional and what the average Joe in business (or at home) does with that computer or digital camera. Huge difference.

It's about results. If my stuff doesn't generate a response for my clients, I'm screwed. Period.

It also has to do with talent. Talent is always a key factor. And either you have it or you don't. Our friend who started this forum is very talented. Which something that also sets the pros apart from the every day Joe with a computer and some digital toys.

It's like when you see a great piece of art, you can't always explain it, but you know it's great. (FYI: the pros know why something is great, why it works, and they know how to make that something work consistently.)

You're correct about markets. There is a market for everything. You just need to find it and let the people in that market know you have what they need. Then you must set out to make them want it, from an emotional level. You must know who your market really is and why they need you instead of someone else. And it's not just because the work speaks for itself. Rarely is that the case.

But before you leap out there, you must always, always look at your stuff and ask the hard questions.

Questions like: What would I do different with this? Why?
What would make this a better... drawing, photo, graphic, essay, article, ad, poem, painting, etc?
Is what I do effective? How do I know?
Does it do what I say it does? How do I know?
Does it do what the client needs it to do? How do I know?
Am I the absolute greatest at what I am doing? Says who?
Or do I do something else even better? Says who?

And finally, the most important question of all:
Why on earth would anyone want to do business with me?

Answer those questions honestly and you've got what you need to capture clients.

FYI: I hire photographers. They must demonstrate a high level of skill, talent and professionalism. They must be creative, assertive, and think like a business owner. Their attitude, behavior and book must reflect this. If they don't live up to this criteria, they don't get the gig.
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