Being a creative is not easy nor is it the path well trodden. There are no rules, manuals, or "how-to" on how to move successfully through a creative career. So I decided to ask a friend to share her experience. Carris Adams is one creative that has seen the artist career from multiple viewpoints: academically, professionally, and the great hustle. You can read up on being an artist all day but the best advice you can get is from hearing someone else's who is living that life right now. Here's Carris:
When did you realize you wanted to do art as a career and when did you officially start calling yourself an artist?
I cannot point to a specific date or moment when I decided to be an artist. I was always interested in writing and creating from an early age. When it came time for me to go to college, I sincerely considered going into nursing. However, I found myself never signing up for the necessary nursing classes but fighting tooth and nail to get a spot in various art classes. I remember thinking that I would follow my interests and see where that takes me.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in getting your work seen by a wider audience and how did you overcome it?
One of the biggest challenges I faced was not audience it was more so developing my formal and technical skills to match the concept. Sometimes, painting is not always the best medium for an idea, but drawing could be the key to getting the concept across. After, and while continuing to fight that battle, the issue of an audience followed.
Were there any mistakes you made on the way to where you are now? What did you learn from them?
I do not think I have made any mistakes thus far. This is not to sound arrogant by any means. Everything I have done has led me to where I am today. I chose to stay true to myself and my interests over the years. Doing anything else would have been a mistake... like nursing school.
What has been the best advice you’ve received on your creative career journey? How have you applied it?
A great man once told me that there is enough bad art in the world that talks about nothing. Do something different. I have kept that in mind as I make work. With that, I tried to learn all media that I thought could serve my work. I researched, read, re-read, attended lectures, analyzed work, artists, and history; all in an effort to "prepare" myself for questions that may arise once my work is in the world.
I've been lucky to have mentors and friends who told me whatever I wanted to know and give me information of all kinds. I think something that NO ONE is taught in art school is the business behind it all. Taxes, negotiating costs, and artist fees. Grants- how to apply for them as well as paying taxes on them once they are received.
Who are some of the best artists you’ve encountered (or known) who basically have their shit together (career wise)? Alternative questions to this, are there artists you always look to, to learn how to be better?
I look to everyone and anyone in my life, on how to be better. I try to recognize the good traits in people (artists and non-artists) that I admire and I try to embody that to make myself a better person because that will be reflected in the work. More directly, I have a ton of artists that I admire and I have realized that they are well immersed in art history, they remained true to themselves and their work, they know how they want to exist in the world and they chased their dream with vigor.
And that's Carris folks! You can find Carris' artwork here: www.cargocollective.com/carrisadams
Let us know how you would answers those questions. Are you an artist, what have you learned over time? Share comments below.