Sometimes you need to wait for the perfect time to act, other times you need to seize the moment and take action, with the hope that you can fine-tune your focus along the way. This has been the case with what I am now calling "The Underrated Artist."
In many ways this blog is a lot like my artistic development. Without the knowledge of the art business, galleries, how to sell, or even the internet to promote myself when I was just starting out, my art career was a shot in the dark. I knew what I wanted but I had no idea how to do it successfully. All I had was the passion in my soul and the desire to be something great. When I left college in the mid 90s I thought success was inevitable! All I had to do was send my paintings to an art competition or an art gallery and I was going to hit it big. What followed were years of rejection. I could fill a room with all the portfolios I sent art galleries that rejected my paintings. There were so many times I started to believe that I was a failure and that all the naysayers in my life were right - I should just be normal and give up on my dreams (like they did). There were days I was so pissed I could have lit my studio on fire. If I didn't marry the most amazing woman in the entire world my story would've had a terribly bad ending. Rebekah has been my rock and the only one who stood there with me from the beginning and told me to paint from my heart. I'm the artist I am today because of her and she will never let me be anything less.
So why The Underrated Artist, you ask? For years I've lived in the shadow of those words. I used to want to scream, "When the hell is someone going to give me a chance!!" Just this week someone shared my work to a large audience on social media saying, "check out the incredible work from this underrated painter." One would think after all the accomplishments I've had I'd somehow shake the term. For some reason there's never been a seat at the table for me amongst the elite of representational art. I'm ok with that now because I've had just as much success and more importantly - sales. After 22 years of hard work and building my brand as an artist I can proudly say that over 95% of the paintings I've sold over the years have been without an art gallery or an art dealer. Add that up and add on the 50% I didn't share with a gallery owner. The value I built for my work and what I am paid for it is because of MY hard work. Today, I'm known for what I paint (especially the things I was told not to paint by people I respected in this profession). Underrated that.
More importantly, this blog is for YOU - the underrated artist - the one that wakes up everyday and works their ass off to get to that place they want to be in the art world. This blog is for every artist that just got their tenth rejection this year from an art competition, the artist that doesn't even have enough money to buy art materials because it's either paint or eat. This blog is for every artist that had to haggle with someone that does not want to pay them fairly for what they do. This blog is for the struggling artist that has no idea where to start when every artist they've asked for help doesn't return their correspondence. I've been there and I've felt your pain.
This blog is for you to realize that as an underrated artist you have so much more to give than you possibly know. Your job is to weather the storm and focus on your goals. You will have failure if you decide to do anything great - it is inevitable. Your job is to ignore the failure. Focus on the goal. Greatness comes from picking yourself up when you think the world is on top of you. Wear the title of underrated artist as a badge of honor just the way I do and stay hungry as an artist. The more hungry we are the harder we work and greater are the things we create.
Now you may disagree with some of the things I have to say. You may laugh or cry or want to chop my head off for saying what needs to be said. I respect you and your opinions. What I can promise you is that I will never lie to you, ever. I care deeply for all of you and your struggles because no one cared for me when I went through my own. I invite you to continue to follow these posts, to get inspired, and to drown out anything in your life that is keeping you from what you love to do. I'll be here with you for the ride.
Welcome fellow underrated artists to the Underrated Artist blog.