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“I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” - Thomas Jefferson


WORK ETHIC is THE thing that defines an artist. This week I want to discuss the specific things that make some artists more respected, easy to work with, or successful than others. 

My Answer:

As always, I really only have my own perspective and experience, but in this case, I have a WIDE variety of experience to draw from both as a performer and a client. In many ways I answer this prompt with my below thoughts, so I’ll just share this one piece of advice from Thomas Edison“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” 

Thoughts and Actions:

I think that most people that dream of being a full time artist have the same underestimations… that clients will line up to book you or buy your work and it will just ”happen” and poof! you are paying your bills and loving your life because art is fun and who doesn’t want to have fun for a living.

But really, the fun part is often just as small as it is in the rest of the careers you could choose. And all of the same realities and responsibilities are the same for the artist. We all have to spend a lot of time WORKING to get to make WORK. Study, promotion, networking, organization, bookkeeping, managing relationships, logistics, etc.

In the visual art world they say that the best way to kill your career as an artist is to not have “inventory” when galleries come calling. The same goes for performing artists… when a client calls and asks for an act, you better have something to show. Obviously you have to operate within a good set of boundaries, but you should have a demo reel, full videos of acts, and be generally conditioned enough to prepare and perform on schedule.

I think to maintain a healthy, long term career as an artist (esp a performing artist) you have to have discipline. It’s not just all magical thinking and spontaneous creativity. I have learned that creativity comes with and from doing the work. And the work has to be regular and purposeful. But also designed to avoid burnout (and in the case of the physical artist… injury).

Beyond discipline, you also have to have vision and organization to make your work work for you.

5 most sought-after workplace ethics and behaviours:

  • Integrity

  • Honesty

  • Discipline

  • Fairness and respect

  • Responsibility and accountability

My 6 Hot Tips:

  • Responding in a timely manner (including emails)

  • Being a great educator… often clients don’t understand your value, so you have to educated them [in a kind way]

  • Stay positive, this means creating a positive environment for others to work WITH you

  • Do more than your share

  • Make your client or boss look good

  • Be easy to work with

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