Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On the Edge of Creative Failure

In the early days of my art career, I didn’t have a mental database of experiences on which to base my risks on. I didn’t have much business experience either. Back then, I was still evaluating projects on emotions rather than on anything measurable. 

For instance, when I started my on-line art print business, I rented out a 1,200 sq foot studio in Easthampton, MA. It made no sense to have the overhead on a business I could have easily run out of my basement. The huge space made me feel as if I had “made it,” and at the time that’s all that seemed to matter. I was caught up in emotions rather than fact, something which can get the better of you in terms of your art and the risks you’re willing to take.

During that time, I was surrounded by everything big - from the huge floor-to-ceiling windows to my painting area with three gigantic easels, to my huge computer desk and tall racks that stored hundreds of art prints. On the wall beside my desk was a map of the world; on it I planned to place pins on each country where I sold a print. Above it, four clocks showed the time in four different time zones. After years of having my art studio in the basement of my house, I felt like a million bucks. 

Friends and clients were wowed by my studio, but in reality, I didn’t know what in the hell I was doing. I was living off my credit cards and money was leaking out of the studio faster than I knew what to do.  In the end, weighed down by the expense of my risk, I knew I’d have to come to my own rescue. The art print business eventually ended in bankruptcy (with a lot of merchandise thrown by me into a dumpster by the thrift store) and after 5 years without one, I took another day job. 

It what ways are you going to remain small or big or in between in the coming year?

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