Don’t be afraid to make a profit of your art and how I started a youtube channel

   I’ve had this conversation the other day with one of my friends. We are both artists but she decided to pursue the teaching career and we’ve been discussing how many young artists (including me) are afraid to sell their art. There is a stigma, that if your art is commercial, or if you make a profit from doing fanarts or portraits on Fiverr you are somehow not ‘artistic’ enough or that you can only do it under a nickname no one would recognize you from. Well, it’s obviously not true, but for many – especially after formal training in art schools, art universities, etc. it’s something of an unspoken rule.

What are your thoughts about this? I’m always quite reluctant of posting any type of fanarts that I know may get more attention because I feel like it’s an ‘easy way’ of getting recognition.

But really, why is it so bad? Especially when you’re just starting your career you want that attention, you want to build up your following so later on you can gradually and smoothly switch to doing something more experimental. Maybe you need time to discover your style, maybe your form of art takes way longer than doing these few portraits? We all know we are fighting against an algorithm. Our art on the internet is not judged by its quality, but rather of the quantity – Instagram will make it accessible to way more people this way, right? So why for some of us it feels wrong?

I have been struggling with not producing enough art, simply because I thought it’s not professional enough, or maybe that something small I do for fun is not worth ruining my ‘perfectly though portfolio on social media’. Again – not true and I know it. But maybe some of you feel this way too.

I’ve decided that the best way to find out why am I feeling this way and hopefully to stop it and allow myself to create more freely is to create a project I can potentially make a profit from. Lockdown definitely helped since I’ve got way more time now, but I’ve found myself feeling a bit blue. Anything more than a ‘comfort’ drawing was somehow too much. So I’ve taken my camera, set it up as best as I could, and tried to make a youtube channel.

I’ve started by simply making a mind map of what I like to draw when I’m at home trying to relax. I’ve chosen simple watercolors, insects, flowers, and movie stills, I’ve got a couple of projects I’ve been putting off – and that forced me to stay on top of the task. It was frustrating at first and I didn’t quite knew how to set up everything as I would want to exactly, but it’s pretty much trials and errors till you get it right.

With each video, I feel that the quality is better and I want to make more.

Now it’s mostly something I enjoy doing, and the original idea evolved – I want to make as many videos as I can, learn more and keep creating, as it opened a door for some newly discovered creativity that I was squishing under the bed like it’s some kind of bad monster.

That is all for today, but it would be lovely to start an open discussion about the topic of making commercial art, what are your thoughts? Do you feel anxious as well? Please commment down below here or under the videos if you want to chat 🙂

All best,

Agata

How did I get here?

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SHOT FROM MY SECOND YEAR FILM, WHICH I MADE BASED OF MONYCA’S POEM (HEY THERE)

I remember my last year in Art High School, and how much I wanted to leave, to go somewhere and “start my life”. I came to England (Farnham to be precise) – to study. I chose an animation course at UCA (University for the Creative Arts) and I was proud of myself, of getting so far.

I was also very anxious… Like many many students from abroad (I can only speak for my fellow EU students as I only know what it feels like from that perspective) I was struggling to find myself in the new reality. How do I get the job, insurance number, flat? Why is everything so expensive why everyone was so hostile to students?

MY GRADUATION WORKS FROM HIGH SCHOOL

My first semester was rather difficult. I was living two towns away from the university and I was casually late for my classes almost everyday. I spent my whole weekends at work, in a small Polish coffee shop which was run by suspicious and a bit odd middle aged man, who called me naughty Agata and Monyca – mean monkey Monyca.
The classes were interesting, but I felt like there was not enough of them to be honest. I did have a lot of work to do, especially considering that I had a part time job as well and spent a lot of time commuting to and from university but I managed to pass to the next year with not so bad grades. I spend my free time meeting new friends and trying to improve my art and English.

SHOT FROM MY FIRST YEAR FILM

I think the second year is worth skipping, because no one really remembers it. It’s sort of like a transition period. However, back then I started to read more about art history, doing first parts of the research for my dissertation and planning my last year film. I feel like the second year is the time of discovering what we are really interested in, to establish who our friends are and making small projects before the stress of third year creeps in.

ANOTHER SHOT FROM THE SECOND YEAR FILM

At first I though I had everything under control. My dissertation was planned, I spent all summer preparing everything I could for my third year film, sketching, reading and resting. But that was a trap. It starts quiet, but then before you realize you wake up at 6am everyday, work in the library till your classes start, then go to work, and after your day job work on your project more because you are always behind on your schedule. It was stressful, but we’ve all managed to finish in time. The dissertation was done, and I was proud of it, especially that I found the topic that I’m really into now – surrealism and uncanny art.

I think it did put me on the right path in a way, after I’ve graduated (with a first, yay!) I’ve got to throw my hat, finish my film, talk with my friends about where the are heading and get to rest a bit before the next steps.

SOME OF THE STORYBOARDS FROM MY LAST FILM

After that I got lost for a bit. I focused on saving up and resting. I’ve focused on finding who I am as an artist (and I’m still very much looking), I’ve been painting, sawing, visiting galleries across England and going for small trips to find inspirations. I’ve got an internship for a bit and applied for entry level jobs. I’ve decided to continue studying and applied for Masters.

Overall, I think it was a good experience. I did grow a lot as a person and artist and I’m happy to start the new adventure – hopefully after this pandemic passes.

🌻🌻🌻Stay home and be safe 🌻🌻🌻 – Agata