May 1, 2003
Q: I am an art teacher, and I don’t want to teach any longer. I’ve decided to move to a new city and follow my dream of creating and selling my own work. My dilemma is this: I’m having difficulty understanding where to start—I don’t know how to go about it. In our shaky economy, I [know that I] can’t afford to make any mistakes. This is my step out on faith, and I want it to be a step in the right direction.
–D. Richardson, New York City
A: Congratulations on your decision to pursue your dream. However, speaking as a fellow artist (I hold a bachelor’s degree in studio art), I must caution you against ending your career prematurely to pursue a profession that you admit you know little about.
It is extremely difficult to make a living as a visual artist, especially at the beginning stages of a career. Most successful artists keep a regular job, at least until they are firmly established in the marketplace and can sell enough art to earn a steady income.
Stepping out on faith does not mean blindly leaping into the unknown; it means taking the steps necessary to prepare yourself for the blessing of your calling. Remember what the Bible says about “faith without works” in James 2:14? Works, in your case, means research and preparation. I strongly recommend that you maintain a teaching career while preparing to become a commercially viable visual artist.
Mail your motivational questions to: Help Yourself, BLACK ENTERPRISE 130 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011 or send an e-mail to:email@example.com.