Organization. This is a rather quirky subject for me. I say that because I have my particular ways as does everyone else. But it is essential to maintaining good habits in your personal life and work life. For artists, especially those with non-art related jobs, time becomes very crucial and it must be maximized if you want any financial stability or notoriety before you are 50 years old. In this post I will more so be speaking to important organization tips I have picked up on as an emerging artist with 5 years experience.
Many of us understand this story. You walk into your studio/work space and someone had the "audacity" to clean it up! You personally knew where important things are, even in the very cluttered environment. But to the outsider, you are a pig who needs help or better yet, direction. We tend to keep our creative spaces messy but is that really necessary to make good art? Is it more so a matter of being tired and mentally exhausted after hours of painting? As I become busier and deadlines become closer and more overlapped, I have no time for a mess. What I mean by that is, I have no time to search for tubes of paint. I can't have broken colored pencil halves all over my desk. Receipts and awaiting canvases should never have been entangled. All this little problems add up to poor productivity. Remember the last great idea you had that never got created because of the necessary 2 hours of cleaning and lost supplies? Luckily for me, I haven't allowed that to stop me for years.
In the beginning, this is just a hobby, so it makes sense to keep all your art supplies together in one Tupperware container or a box in the coat closet. But as you transition to a home work space or small studio space, organization is key. A large key to success, is minimizing your supply load and having your essentials ready at all times. This is what that would look like for me:
- My palette was mixed the night before and sealed so that the paint is not drying out.
- ALL my brushes are clean and ready but only the 20 most used are by my side. (Depending on the scale)
- I have a few cups of water/cleaners so I don't feel I need to change it while working
- A few cleaning rags for my hands, brushes and the painting.
- Window scraper for my palette.
These are always set in the same place on my dominant hand's side so that I can begin working within LITERALLY 20 seconds of walking into my studio.I always clean my supplies after and leave them ready for next time. Since I also have a home studio, I may return to working within 10 minutes or 5 hours. Either way, all my barriers are removed for ultimate success. It must be this immediate for the best connection and expression of your idea. The less time wasted the more productive we become. Unfortunately, this is not our only area of clutter in our lives.
So, if this is your business or you aspire to make this your full time job, separate ALL business paper work from the rest. Keep it all separate like church and state. In this way, no one will ever accidentally shuffle around your invoices with get-well-soon cards. Second, keep all your receipts together as you never know what can be used for your benefit. Look to local tax write offs when it comes to travel and work space. Find local grant opportunities within your city. Just visit your city's .gov page, and find what can propel you along your journey. It can be stressful at times so let's minimize as many barriers to financial comfort as possible. I think I speak for most when I say, I would clean up after myself if I knew it could triple my income. Think within your best interests and always set yourself up to make the best work you can. Because once you are working on three paintings at once and doing off-site work, maybe teaching or curating, organization helps you determine where and if you have free time. And if you work for yourself, then it determines your level of success.