For an artist of any kind — be it music and entertainment, fine arts, digital arts or whatever realm of creative expression you may be passionate about — there are many stigmas and stipulations attached to the work we have chosen to do. We have selected a path less traveled; the road to creative expression and freedom where, in many cases, we are underpaid and overworked. Yet, we persevere for many reasons, the key being that "we love what we do." It is our passion that often stops us from burning out, giving up or settling for some dead-end career to make ends meet.
Still, sometimes it helps to get affirmation about just how valuable your creativity is to this ever-changing world from someone other than yourself
Here are 2 things that black creative artists don’t hear nearly enough (but should):
1. Every "like" does not equate genuine support. Your work's worth is not measured by how many likes it obtains via social media.
2. You can do this, even if everyone else who has tried has failed.
3. Take your time. There's no deadline greater than the one you set for you. Don't rush your own creativity.
4. Just because you are starting out, doesn't mean you have to work for free. Don’t be afraid to ask, "How much?" Because—yeah, this ish ain't free.
5. It's OK to start over. Having to go back to the beginning doesn't mean you're not going to succeed. You just needed a different approach, and that is OK.
6. Art is often misunderstood as a wasted hobby, but know that you are not wasting your time. If it is your career, own it! OWN IT.
7. "How can I support you?" Because a little goes a long way.
8. It's not a phase we all go through. You have a gift; don’t let no one convince you otherwise. Not everyone can do it.
9. You can have a day job, too. Not every artists is going to come out being a successful entrepreneur immediately. Not every artist wants to, either.
(Chicagomag.com - From left: Eve Ewing, Nate Marshall, and Jamila Woods for 2017 PHOTO: COLLEEN DURKIN)
10. Make sure you enjoy your work more than anything and anyone else.
11. Don't be afraid to let people in. Help comes in many forms — love is one of them.
12. Have fun with your craft!
13. Always keep a copy of the original draft. It tells a story.
14. Your journey doesn't have to fit anyone's ideal vision of success except your own. Create your own way.
15. Just because they're your friends and family, doesn't mean they get a discount all the time — or ever.
16. Claim every creative work you've done with pride. Whether it’s widely successful or a marginal failure is up to no one but you.
17. Keep going! It gets hard at times, but you'll be glad that you finished strong!
18. Always research your industry and know market value for your craft, then exceed it.
19. Try to stay inspired and surround yourself with the energy you need to feel aligned and centered.
20. Set your own standards for success. For every benchmark you hit, TREAT YO SELF!
21. Lastly, you are important to this world and to your field.
Whether people can admit it or not, art is necessary in all forms, and we are thankful for every creator who has ever been brave enough to share theirs with us. Create and cultivate!