Is Making Art Always Fun?

by | Jun 12, 2008 | Blog | 5 comments

Making art is fun, right? Isn’t that one of the main attractions to any creative activity? When you take on art as a career, though, the business aspects can easily bog you down with extra responsibilities not normally considered as fun. The career artist needs to be a photographer, web tech, marketer, publicist, writer, accountant, sometimes framer, shipper and self-motivator. Even if all those hats you wear are fun, the pressure of switching daily and still keeping enough energy to paint can wear down the fun part.

Several years ago I decided to make it my motto to keep everything I do fun. It’s not always easy, but worth the effort. By keeping everything fun, it doesn’t require numerous breaks from what I am doing to grab an ice cream cone and find the nearest swing set. (Actually one of my favorite pastimes). Instead I try to make what’s required next from me to be fun. If I notice that I am not looking forward to an important phone call, or a few hours working with digital images for my website, then I stop for a few moments and ask myself to think about it differently. It’s the thoughts that make all the difference. Once I switch from a negative thought about a situation, I can easily find a positive one to replace it. For instance, let’s say I need to call my gallery to find out where my check is, or some other touchy subject, and it gets me nervous or frustrated. Instead, before the phone call, I take a moment and think about how much I like some of the staff, how professionally they handled the last show, etc, and then I get excited about the call – like I am calling a good friend. And the results are often better then I anticipated.

I have spent many hilarious moments with artist friends comparing rejection letters and interviews gone haywire. Odd situations like a former gallery owner who wouldn’t return my unsold paintings a week before the gallery was due to close. (I had to send in my husband and they almost got into a fist fight). I’m not proud of those moments, but they happen. We can choose to let them get us down, or keep us in good humor by our thoughts about them.

Recently, I wrote a puppet show making fun of all those “odd” artist moments. My “Broadcast Puppet Theater” will present “Art Attack” a short 30 minute puppet play on July 4th weekend at my studio here in Santa Fe, along with comic performer/artist friend Barbara Mayfield. It was very empowering making a gallery director puppet, famous artist, collectors, etc. and acting out several of these scenes. Above is a photo of the cast.

One of my friends on a recent visit to my studio, stood in amazement at the stage, puppets and props I had made, and remarked “I have never known anyone who spends this much effort just to have fun”. I am so proud.

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  1. Ed T.

    although I am not exactly a professional artist yet, I agree with you about the multi-tasking aspect. I love to be a web-developer, photographer, publicist, etc., when I am bored with one thing I can concentrate on another and the cycle of creativity continues in different ways. I like your blog and especially your ‘about me’ comments. Well said and inspirational! I too believe art has the power to heal.

  2. Lani Gerity

    Art can be created from ANYTHING!!!

  3. Paula

    I’ve always thought that if it isn’t fun, one shouldn’t do it.

    But you are right and some of the unfun stuff cannot be avoided. I’ve not tried the turn-it-around part but I’ll bet it works. Thanks for the inspiration.


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About Nancy

Professional fine artist Nancy Reyner’s blog about art, painting and creativity. Her career spans over 30 years. She lives in Santa Fe in the US. Subscribe below for free tips on art and painting.

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