The Questions Every Artist Must Ask

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The 2nd in our art business series with artist and art business expert, Crista Cloutier, who has been coaching other artists around the world on all aspects of their business via her program: The Working Artist.

The Working Artist

As artists, we’re constantly questioning ourselves. And questions are good things! It’s important to ask questions.

But are you asking the right ones?

It’s easy to get caught up in questions such as:

  • Am I good enough?
  • Does anyone like my stuff?
  • Do I have what it takes to succeed?
  • Am I too old? (or too young, or too thin, or too fat, or too poor…)

These kinds of questions aren’t helpful because they’re disempowering.

I challenge you to begin asking better questions. Because the better the question, the more useful the answer.

Here Are Questions that Every Artist Should Be Asking:

Questions Every Artist Must Ask

Who?

That’s the best question to begin with. Ask yourself, as an artist, who am I?

You see, I believe that the artist’s life is all about answering that question. Your work is where you document your progress as you get closer to the answer.

Who are you as an artist?

What? 

What is it that you want to accomplish? If you’re like me, you probably have 100 answers to that question.

But sometimes when we have too many answers, that question never gets answered.

If you were to focus on what you want to do next, what makes the most sense as a next step for your practice, how would you answer that question?

What is it that you want to accomplish? What are you working toward?

Where? 

Where do you want to go? When you dream your dreams, where do you see yourself taking your work?

Are you going there now?

Are you at least pointing in the right direction?

Is it time to pull out the map again?

When?

Now.

That’s the only answer to this question.

No, it’s not too late. It’s never too late.

So you tell me that you’re even older than the famed Grandma Moses? Then beat her record for being the world’s oldest artist and you will have your own Unique Selling Proposition.

But seriously, if not now, when?

Why?  

“Why” is one of the most important questions an artist can ask. Ask it often.

  • Why is my art important to me?
  • Why do I feel compelled to create?
  • Why should people care about my work?

And I’ve said it before: I don’t care if your art is about craft, post-modern theory, politics, flowers, pet portraits or landscapes; just as long as you’re engaged with meaningful work.

What matters is that you’re trying to make the world a better place for you having been here.

And now you’re asking, How?

Baby steps. That’s how.

You are either on the journey or you’re not.

If you commit to baby steps, you’re always moving forward, you’re always engaged, you’re moving closer to your goal. That’s all that matters.

Never stop asking questions.

Because it’s questions that will lead you toward your answers.


Crista Cloutier

Guest Author: Crista Cloutier

Crista Cloutier has been actively involved in the contemporary art world throughout her career. Having worked as an international art dealer, curator, and gallerist, Crista is now the founder of The Working Artist, an online business school for visual artists. 

Honored as an “Influencer in the Contemporary Art World” by LinkedIn, Crista’s work has helped artists in over 80 different countries to exhibit and sell more art.

What’s Next?

Did you:

  • Have follow-up questions?
  • Have other related thoughts that might be beneficial to the community?

Post them in the comments!

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Eddie Davis

Back in 2018, Eddie decided there had to be a better way. He a baby on the way and a house full of original art from his ancestors. So he started building an art collecting app to catalog each piece and capture its story. And then he started buying (or trying to buy) original art in his home town of Atlanta, Georgia, United States and quickly discovered that nearly all artists had broken, out-of-date websites and made it nearly impossible to buy their work. So he connected his catalog app to a maintenance-free artist website. Somewhere in the middle, crypto NFTs exploded and then imploded, and the ETChster global community grew to ~15,000 artists and art collectors of all walks of life. Et cetera...