One thing we do not discuss often while studying to be artists is....dun dun dun....I am just going to say it...making a living once we graduate! It's kind of a taboo subject.
We all want to keep our reputations up by putting off this attitude of, "Well, I'm going to make a living off of my art, of course!" And many (most) of us are interested in teaching at the college level. Don't look at the statistics if you want to keep on hoping these are viable options for those who have just recently graduated with their MFAs! But rather than drown in a pool of self-pity while I wait for a tenure-track job to magically fall in my lap, I am simply putting my efforts into planning for the inevitable period of transition that I'll be entering come June of next year. Are you in a similar boat? Well, let me share my thoughts with you.
I teach one photography class per quarter as part of my MFA program. I love being a teacher! I always thought that I would, and I'm happy that I was right. Every quarter, I have around 25-30 students in my class, which is a lot! Facing the challenges that come with teaching have given me more confidence as an artist and just in general. Of course, I would love to be a full time college art teacher in the near future, but I understand that normally takes a few years of part time adjunct work followed by lots and lots and lots of applying to find.
So I have been asking myself, "What else can I do?" in the meantime. If I find myself teaching one class next fall, I will count myself lucky--but I can't live off of that. So, what else can I do? A few thoughts have entered my mind on this subject. Retail is always at the back of my mind, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat to make ends meet...but is that really what I want? Short answer: no. There are probably other part-time jobs available here that did not exist in my college town because this is a bigger city and has more of an art scene. I'd be okay with that. But lately I've been thinking about the bigger picture and instead of asking myself, "What else can I do?" I have rephrased that question as, "What else do I want to do?"
Working for myself has entered my mind more than a few times. I've been doing lots of research, reading, planning, and thinking, and I've come to the conclusion that if I start pushing for it right now, expanding One Lonely Apricot is a perfectly reasonable goal, and really not very far-fetched. Planning for expansion has made me realize that my already-established shop has way more potential than I've been tapping into. I've set a few reasonable goals for the next few months and I have big dreams of taking it to the next level by summer 2012.
Here are my first three steps, which I would like to complete by January:
- Develop a few more products at varying price points since my shop is now almost entirely custom illustrative work. I already know what I want to add and I just need to get to work making it! I am most excited about this. I think being excited to make the products is my first good sign. I bet you are wondering what the new items are going to be....for now it's a secret!
- Increase exposure to my blog and shop. I am making every effort to make this happen!
- Launch onelonelyapricot.com...A couple of months ago I purchased this domain and all the webspace I need! What am I waiting for!? I don't know. I have just been procrastinating.
More is in the works. I am excited to turn this part-time-project into something bigger. Do you have similar goals for your creative projects or online shop? Share them! Maybe we can work on this together.