Every artist wants to make his/her mark on the world. They’ve got a story to tell, a message to pass on.
Unfortunately, so many artists struggle just to make a living. Our culture just happens to be one that values scientific exploration, technology, engineering and mathematics. That’s obviously a good thing, but it makes it so much harder for those who are creative in art.
Add to that the fact that art is essential to the Christian community of faith, as it concretely expresses the creative nature God put into us, and engages people at the soul-level. Now we’ve got a real problem.
But at The Borough, we know that problems do not mean it’s the end of the road. We know that creating solutions is one of the most beautiful things about life. We love innovation.
You’ve got be resilient, creative, and focused. You’ll have to learn skills you never thought would be important to you as an artist. But if you can be innovative, you will be able to build your influence and share your art to the world.
Here are some ways that you can gain influence as an artist, and allow your message to reach more and more people:
It’s a lie to say, “You can do anything you want in life.” There are so many issues with this statement that have to do with socio-economic constructs and privilege. People simply cannot just do anything they want because there is just too much fighting against us.
A better way to put it is, “You can do anything you want in life… as long as you can figure out how to make money doing it.”
Be honest. Everyone needs to make a living. It’s not selfish to expect to be able to earn money to eat after working. And it’s definitely not selling-out.
As an artist, it’s very difficult to earn a steady income outside of becoming an overnight superstar. But becoming entrepreneurial is a beautiful way to do it.
You’ll have to come up with a monetization plan – maybe opening a gallery, a co-op, a non-profit, a theatre, an arts school or any other ideas which can bring in revenue for art.
Then you’ll have to gain skills in raising startup funds, marketing, organization, leadership, etc. It will stretch you, but it’s worth it.
At the end, you’ll have (1) an income, (2) a platform to present your art, (3) customers and an audience who will hear your message.
Church Residency Programs
The church pays the artist to create art for their church, and to interact in the community with their art. All the while, the church provides you with spiritual development and theological education to understand how your art works with your faith.
Check out this article to learn more about Resident Artist programs.
I’ll admit, not a lot of churches do this, because not a lot of churches can catch the vision as to why art is worth a financial investment.
But if you can find one, it is an amazing idea which will offer you a great opportunity to influence through your art. And you won’t have to worry about scrounging around money to pay for your studio apartment.
In a program like this, you will be able to gain influence through your audience at the church and your audience in the community.
Connecting With Existing Networks
There are a ton of ways to get your art out there by working with existing artistic networks.
The best way to do it is through a city-network, that way you can work with local artists and have a local audience who can meet you at the same time as buy your art. You’ll gain influence when you work with others.
But there are a ton of online networks as well. My particular favorite is CIVA.org. It houses an online community of Christians involved with visual arts. They share their art with each other, and connect to set up galleries or exhibits with each other.
I’ve written another article about CIVA, if you want more information.
The influence you can gain through online networks is massive. Just massive.
Partner With the City
There are so many opportunities to improve your city while making art. Create a mural. Set up a permanent outdoor art gallery. Improve a broken sector through creative placemaking.
These avenues will give you great influence because everyone who lives in your community will be exposed to your work.
Look at people like Diego Rivera who described (and thereby greatly changed) Detroit’s passion for industry and hard work.
Don’t just seek influence to indulge your vanity. We’ve got to remember that the goal of our influence is to be Christ’s light to the world.
It doesn’t mean that every piece you create has to clearly reference Jesus, but it does mean that you must use the responsibility of influence to engage the culture and confront them with the truth of Jesus, no matter how abstract it might be.
After all, it’s all about Christ.Don't just seek influence to indulge your vanity. #art Click To Tweet