How Attached to Your Work Are You?

How attached are you to the work you create? Are your paintings precious to you or do you give them away to friends? Is your music too personal to share or is it streaming on every app possible? These boundaries are very delicate for us as individuals. For most creatives, mechanical creatives, organizational creatives,  etc. we develop very particular ways over time that manifest as "obsessive" in our culture.

As artists, especially when we are younger, we find attachment to our favorite toys, places, and cartoons. When we are young we may give away drawings to people we love and are in our inner circle. But over time as you get better a few things might happen to you.

1. This is probably the best understood viewpoint. "As an artist, I have been painting for about 5-15 years now, and I have about 6 paintings that I feel are absolute works of art. I couldn't part with it for a million dollars."  I hear this a lot. From teenagers to grandparents. I feel it is a balance between frequency and mindset. On one hand, because you may not get to paint as much as you want to over the span of a decade, you realize that it is in your best interest to keep some of your work. Not for financial gain, but mental health and comfort. A sense of pride. From my view point and speaking with other artists, if you paint often to improve your skills, regardless of sales, eventually you will run out of storage, wall space, and/or worse, money.

In terms of mindset, some just can't let go of a painting. Some artists only paint subject matter that is very dear to them and sometimes as a process of healing from past experiences. There can be a hidden fear that they may not garner what they think the painting is worth and the rejection or "insult" isn't worth humoring for them. I believe if the goal is to run a successful art business then making money has to be #2 behind creating your absolute best work. Even if you are only crafting to sell for fun, make it amazing! YOU will feel so much better at the end of the day. I have experienced both ends of the stick. They were both needed to fully understand why I never give less than I know I can, even if I lose financially. It is a matter of skill progression and reputation with your customers that you owe them.