Your Life As An Artist: A Guided Journey
On January 1, 1995, at thirty-eight years of age, I leaned back in my newly purchased ergonomic desk chair, and savored the creative (and material) fruits of the previous year. After years of struggling in proverbial obscurity as an artist, I had finally tasted the sweetness of success as a freelance photographic illustrator. The year 1994 had been a breakout one for me—I had numerous high-level commercial projects with prestigious national clients and large budgets. The phone was ringing off the hook, my wife had just quit her job to care full-time for our young children, and we were about to purchase a house in an affluent suburban neighborhood. My New York agent told me that “everyone” wanted to work with me. I eagerly looked toward a golden future, one in which I saw only bigger and better projects.
Fast forward five years later, to January 1, 2000. I sat staring at the computer monitor in my very modest rented apartment, wondering what had happened to my once golden future. I was in the middle of a contentious divorce and fighting for time with my kids. The phone had stopped ringing, and I was living mostly off rapidly dwindling savings. To make matters worse (or perhaps not surprisingly), the quality of my portfolio, along with my emotional state and my income, had suffered a precipitous decline. My photographic illustrations had grown increasingly dry, repetitive, and shallow. At forty-three years of age I felt burned out, like a has-been, and I wondered if my best creative years were behind me.
Looking back, I now know that this happily was not the case. Today, I feel more engaged in my work than ever, and well prepared to take on new creative challenges. I am confident that all of my best creative work to date has been done since that day in 2000 when I felt so despondent. But my creative “recovery” was challenging, took years to bear significant fruit, and requires ongoing maintenance. So what did I do, and what did I learn in the years between 2000 and now? That is what I want to share with you in my Professional Development program, “Your Life As An Artist: A Guided Journey”.
First, and most importantly, I learned that although each of us has a unique creative contribution to make, only with the proper nurturing can we achieve optimal artistic growth and expression. This workshop will introduce a roadmap for realizing your creative potential as a visual artist. Together we will explore step-by-step techniques, tools, and strategies that will foster long-term growth for visual professionals at all stages of their careers. While rooted in contemporary scientific research, these strategies and techniques have been instrumental in my own decades-long artistic practice.
To customize this workshop, choose the topics that best suit your particular needs, and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recommend designing either a two-hour long session,
or an all-day retreat.
#1—Find Your Voice As An Emotional Messenger
As artists, how do we create projects with compelling emotional resonance? In this session, we will learn to dig deep inside ourselves, to identify and cultivate our personal strengths, and to ultimately transform our unique story into a cohesive visual point of view.
#2—Train Your Creative Brain Like An Athlete
Recent science has pointed out that the human brain is far more malleable than previously thought. As our “creative muscle”, we need to treat our brains with the same respect, care, and dedication with which athletes treat their bodies. Learn how to make the most of yours with a “brain-healthy” life-style and best practices.
#3—Orchestrate A State Of Creative Flow
We have all read testimonials by creative people who said: “the painting simply painted itself”, “the music just flowed out of me”, “the novel finished itself”, etc. At one time or another, we have all had the experience of being creatively “in the zone." According to neuroscience, this type of experience is a specific brain state, and one that can be identified and documented. In this session we will learn and discuss the “best odds” strategies for orchestrating such a state of flow, as well as specific techniques to help trigger it in problem solving situations.
#4—Respond To Rejection With Resilience
Rejection and failure are, for better or worse, integral parts of the creative endeavor. Both can be excruciatingly painful, but we cannot avoid them and succeed. We can, however, learn from failure, keep rejection in its proper perspective, and strive to use both as springboards for future growth and achievement. Learn how.
#5—Learn To Hurdle Creative Block
Sometimes the juices are just not flowing. There can be a number of reasons for the block, and the solution usually depends on the cause. We will discuss a variety of examples and their respective antidotes.
#6—Master The Art Of Reinventing Yourself
Rapid change continues to be a byword of contemporary society. According to studies, young people today should plan on having multiple occupations in their working careers. This seems to be especially true for artists, and certainly has been true for Richard throughout his career. This workshop discusses various ways of remaining professionally nimble, and turning unforeseen obstacles and challenges into proverbial opportunities for personal and professional growth.
#7—Manage The Lurking Demons
Research, both anecdotal and statistical, points to the fact that artists are more vulnerable to depression and anxiety than the general population. These life-long conditions can be productively managed given the right resources and support. Knowing that you are not alone is the first step. We will discuss resources for crises, as well as “best practices” for long-term mental health.