As artists, whether in visual arts, music, writers or any form of art, we were often not really supported by our parents simply because they were also taught that art is not something you can make a living from. I battled that for years, I make a living from my art, however, it is not the easiest path I chose. I know I am not the only artist and I know many can only be full-time because they have a spouse that earns the income, or they work part-time or even full-time.

The question is why would some go wild and others keep struggling or it is not easy to get to that place they want to be? It’s simple but not easy, it’s called our blueprint that was instilled in many from a young age. Even if you go, you do the work, you kind of succeed, that blueprint runs in the background and will always keep you from being that successful art entrepreneur you want to be. Today 3 points that you can use to start to change. Blueprint, mindset, inner work.

Blueprints

Blueprints can be reprogrammed, and although it is not easy, you can do it by using tapping or do declarations daily. You probably know all about the affirmations. But here is the thing, affirmations suggest that it is already done, affirmations are like praying, but it doesn’t change anything because that little voice deep down will tell you it is BS. Declarations however set a strong intention, you can change your blueprint by setting the strong intention and then take the actions accordingly. Because you can declare daily, not taking the action will not change it. Small actions as in small habits that you stack upon each other. How can you do that? First, be aware of the blueprint you are running, and write that down. Then understand the impact and write opposites. You can use those as declarations or for your tapping script.

But a blueprint is not the only thing that withholds artists to become thriving art entrepreneurs. Yes, I know that entrepreneurship is not what is taught at art schools, art academies, etc. Artists often still rely on galleries, hoping they will take that responsibility. Well artists, wake-up call here! Galleries do not sell your art unless you are there yourself to talk with potential buyers, or if they have a so-called ‘well-known’ artist whose art gives them a good ROI. Galleries ask for a fee to hang there and want a steep royalty when the painting has been sold, and give a discount that the artist also needs to pay.

Mindset

A very important issue next to the blueprint is the mindset. I hear you saying, mindset, there is nothing wrong with my mindset. But, here is the thing, did you know that you can have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. Both have huge implications for you as an artist and your art business. I read a wonderful book by Dr Carol S. Dweck called ‘Mindset’. For me a page-turner because everything I read made so much sense as to why some parts of my business had friction. Do you know that those teachers in the academy or art school who demotivated you and told you you would never make it, more likely had a fixed mindset? Yes, because it became very apparent that with the right motivation and the action you take, you can learn. Is art something that is only for the very talented ones? Not really. Talented is much overrated. Yes, you can have the ability to draw or paint more easily than others. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn it. Because in the end, everything you do needs effort. A growth mindset sees it as a good challenge, a fixed mindset will not come there and turns away.

self-portraits in front of the mirror

For instance self-portraits. As you all know I am a portrait artist, a painter not so much a drawer. So I challenged myself to do a daily self-portrait drawing in front of the mirror with a pencil. Guess what, soon the pencil started to communicate with me. Now I continue with red chalk, and that is also going better. That is what a growth mindset does, that’s how you become better and better and can continue to grow. Our brains need the challenge, so I set my skill set higher and higher. Many do not even go there, because they think they can’t do live portraits or portraits at all. I know you can, and I can teach you how. I can do it quick too. Yes, that’s right. Feel a little shift?

Trinity, an extremely powerful program

Now you all think, yeah, but you have a growth mindset. Yes and no. We all have both. We only need to recognise where that challenge is. Last week I got that lightbulb moment whilst in a program Tame Your Brain: Trinity by Dr Libby Kamkaran. It was the Universe that guided me toward this program and it is worth everything I have. Within a week she was able to change much of my belief system and even though I need to do the work, she handed me the tools on a silver platter. She builds that course in a way that stacks the positive upon the positive. (The way we tend to stack negative upon negative when it comes to our belief system. Subconsciously we will prove ourselves)


so, as you know, portraits are not the problem, however, my fixed mindset came when I was convinced I had a brilliant course, talked with 25 people who were really enthusiastic and then only one decided to enrol. A growth mindset would have asked herself: ‘Hey, what happened? What did I do wrong and how can I address that?’ Instead, I bowed my head, felt frustrated and left it. Yes, really, I left it. It was a lightbulb moment, that made me aware that right there I was running a fixed mindset. The most important lesson I learned from this is to be aware when a fixed mindset kicks in and change it by telling yourself it is a brilliant opportunity to grow. Sit still and simply ask the universe to give insights on how to solve it. Do the work, practice, start over, and, as one of my favourite writers once wrote: ever failed? Fail harder, fail better. The best mindsets you often find with sports people. Tiger woods does not call himself professional, he finds himself an amateur because there is still so much to learn. He keeps practising. Many times I hear that people have not painted or practised for months on end because, yeah, the marketing takes so much time. I hear you, I started to fall into that trap. But there is a solution for everything. Back to Woods, he practised 5 hours a day on top of competitions. Musicians study those hours on top of concerts, and teaching. It’s the inspired effort and the willingness to keep growing that make us great artists. Not motivation, that wears off.

Inner Growth Creates Outer Growth

The third point is kind of what combines the first two. You can’t grow on the outside if you do not grow on the inside. So it starts with you. Practice your art, yes, always. Do marketing, yes always. But, if you do not do the inner work, your art business will not grow the way you like it. It is again simple but not easy. It all starts with a seed that grows a plant into that beautiful tree that will give us the fruits. So, the seed, and that seed is you. That seed is also where you touch upon your true purpose. And no matter what your purpose is, we are here to serve. Yep, we are here to touch the hearts of other people. But here is the thing, someone said to me once, a mother can’t give more love to her child than she has for herself. Bingo, that’s one that already starts our blueprint, and as I learned before, that starts already in the last stages of the pregnancy, and it is called epigenetics. No worries, that also can be changed, but if you get my drift, it all starts with you. There your journey as an artist starts. A good role model for me in this is artist Kelli Folsom, who is thriving and has done and still does the work. The inner work we do is what we will see in the outer world. And she shows that, and I model that.

Recap

What did we cover today? We started with the blueprints that run our lives as artists. The infamous ’you can’t live from your art, or you can’t make money with your art. If you do not reprogram this, you will keep sabotaging yourself to prove it.

The second was the mindset. The two mindsets we all have are the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. I am seen as someone with a huge growth mindset, but BAM 💥 I also was confronted with a fixed mindset. Support in that direction can certainly help. Teachers and professors who are supposed to teach us the skills of art, can have truly fixed mindsets and demotivate the students. Some will push through that as my artist friend Joan Marie ( who was told repeatedly that she wouldn’t make it. Well, I can assure you she has made it), or my best friend Elizabeth Amisu who was told by her professor that her books sucked and should be taken down from Amazon. (The most hardworking and talented writer I know. Has she stopped writing? Hell no, she was discouraged, and felt very alone and took them off for a while. But she came back. Keeps writing and published the first academic book on Michael Jackson published by an academic publisher) Growth mindsets by keep honing your skills, as well detecting there where you have a fixed one and shift it.

The last one is probably the most important one. The blueprint and mindset fall into this. But in short: you have to start within yourself. Grow from the inside to the outside. See the seed you are growing into that beautiful tree that will have the fruits hanging ripened at the end.