Shop Talk

Open Discussion: How Do Retain Your Authenticity?

Asking yourself how you find and sustain an idea of artistic integrity is no easy task. In this week’s Open Discussion we’d like you to share with us how you retain a sense of artistic autonomy and originality, while continuing to pursue commercial success as an artist. Basically, we want you to answer the question, how do you stay you?

Striking a balance between experimenting with new styles, doing commercial work, and growing in new artistic directions all contribute to a divisive push and pull between how we can retain our own artistic authenticity while trying to simply making a living in this creative life. It can feel overwhelming to try and juggle differing artistic ideals. Perhaps you want to focus more on creating work for RB products like throw pillows and tote bags. Or maybe you’re trying to develop a freelance design client base. Or maybe you typically create dark and doom-filled works, but just got a gig designing characters for a children’s video game. Most artists who are currently between the ages of 20-35 will have on average about 7 different careers in their lifetime. If the new normal is one in which our creative output is going to change, how do you hold onto an affirmative feeling of authenticity?

"The infallible formula (dark on light version)" by pepetto

Recently we discussed the myth of the “starving artist” as a cliche we are all ready to abandon. It’s relevant to note that staying authentic to yourself as an artist doesn’t always automatically equate to having to make compromises. You can still create your artwork, make profit from it, and hold onto your own creative center. The tricky, fickle question is, how?

There are any number of forces pushing and pulling artists and designers that share their artwork online which can make anchoring yourself to an authentic style or vision difficult. Being able to build a sustainable art practice by making money from it (so you can do other cool things like buy more art materials, put on bigger exhibitions, or put funds into expanding your web presence) is only one cog in the equation of how we, as artists, can remain authentic in our creativity.

Do you have tips or tricks to staying authentic as an artist? How do you stay true to yourself? Do you have any advice or mantras to stay grounded?

Let’s discuss in the comments.