Guest author/artist advisor: Aletta de Wal

“There is no formula for success, except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.” ~Arthur Rubenstein

STOP. Before you read this article…Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths & imagine. Now let your mind find a memory of a time when you felt successful. Walk into that memory and experience it all over again. Use all of your senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing, balance and acceleration, temperature, direction, pleasure, and your kinesthetic awareness. Open your eyes and remember that feeling. Come back to it before you do anything successfully.

If each one of you told me what you just experienced, there would be some common aspects and many differences. That is the great thing about having a successful career as a fine artist. You make it up, just like you make art from what your mind conceives. Here is a list of important traits all successful artists share…
5 Common Traits of Successful Artists:

  1. Art is the core of their lives. These artists wake up and go to sleep thinking about art. They carve out time in their day making art or marketing it. (In fact, for these artists, there seems to be no clear distinction between the creativity of making and marketing.) If they have a full-time job, it is secondary in their minds to art and mostly a means to and end. Their real job is being an artist.
  2. Successful artists understand how business works in the art world. Successful artists understand the entrepreneurial aspects of making a living as an artist. When they encounter something new or unusual on the business side, they investigate and learn to do it or delegate the task. They know the value of relationships and network in person and through social media.
  3. Successful artists have a strong work ethic. They manage themselves, their own creative energy, and resources. They balance the time to produce art and to market it. Whatever rhythm of working they choose; they stick to it. Whether these artists enjoy the business tasks or not, they know they must be done  and they do them without complaint or resentment.
  4. Successful artists are resilient. They know that success does not happen overnight – it requires hard work. These artists understand that things don t always work out the way they expect. When they make mistakes, they focus on solutions, not on regrets. They  learn from experience and experiment to improve on any success they have.
  5. Successful artists spend time only with people who are 100% supportive of their art career. They limit their time and emotional involvement with people who are negative   especially about art as a career choice. If people close to them have the skills and inclination to be more directly involved in their art career, the artist can produce more and better. Successful artists do not allow unsupportive people to be an obstacle to their plans for success.

The lesson: “Hang out with successful artists and study them.”

You can read or listen to Aletta’s interviews of successful artists here:


Thank you Aletta for another great article! If you enjoyed this post, please check out this other popular articles. Enjoy, Lori 🙂

PS. How do YOU define success???? I’d love to hear your comments….

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“You Are in Charge of Your Art Career”

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The Visual Artists’ Challenge: Balancing Self Promotion & Gallery Representation

Commissioned Art – Tips to make it a Success!
Create a Powerful Portfolio
The Right Art Gallery – How to Find One
How to Bring Out the “Mona Lisa” in Your Own Artwork

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