Questions for Successful Artists

As is true of many things in life, there certainly doesn’t seem to be a guidebook for artistic success. In fact there isn’t even a way to define artistic success, making life for artists so much more about creativity, personal goals and finding a way to reach people through art. Of course, monetary needs are part of the equation, which we talk about in detail in our last post, Money Management for Artists.

But perhaps what is most valuable is to know how artists can help one another by sharing their experiences. This means that artists turn to other members of the community and more specifically icons and role models in order to establish personal goals, ideals and perhaps even to try and pave a path to artistic success.

At Mumora we’re always looking for way to connect with artists and hear their ideas, challenges, and insights. That’s why we put a plan in motion (let’s call in Operation Insight) to reach out to artists and ask them a simple question, “If you met your artistic icon, what would you ask them and why?” From this question we could learn what artists define as success, who their artistic icons were and what roadmaps they were looking for to reach success.

The responses are as unique as the artists and provide amazing insight into what guidance artists are looking for in their journey to success. Let’s have a look at what six artists reveal:

“It would be about how they handle flow,” and elaborates by saying, “I am most interested in how the visual energy manifests itself. And then keeps trucking until completion. Or more correctly there is never true completion. It is a process that just continues and hopefully bears more and more visual gifts and presents for us all.” — Maaris Cirulis

What motivated them – for the reason motivation is such a huge factor in producing quality artwork, and without this I feel would show in the artists creation. Also did they paint the subject because they wanted to, or because they deemed it a popular subject that would sell?” —Mark Hayward

“My gut reaction would be to ask ‘how did you kick it up to the next level?’” — Claudia Roulier

“Why they create and how they became known.” — Keiko Suzuki’

“I’m fond of many artists but my absolute favorite is Sandro Botticelli; the early Renaissance artist who created my favorite painting The Birth Of Venus.  If I could meet with him today and ask him something I think it would be ‘What was it like to create beautiful seamless art in an era that valued talent, technique, and skill.’ I often think I was meant to be born in a different era or perhaps I’m a reincarnated artist from the past because I definitely favor traditional mediums and techniques and would like to think that my artwork is reminiscent of the style of realism that was produced during the Renaissance. Though I’ve received some incredible recognition and have achieved great things even at this early stage in my career I still can’t help but feel that I will never receive the type of recognition I could have had I been an artist during I time when realism and technique were valued above all else in the art world.” — Malinda Prud’homme

“My artistic icon is Peter Doig, and I’d like to ask him this: Despite everyone’s opinion being objective, as an artist, how do you know what a legitimate subject to paint is?” — Sam Houston

The questions put forward by these artists for their icons are quite telling and begin to demonstrate how artists relate to or define success and more importantly, what it takes to be successful. It also becomes evident that many of the questions artists may have can only be answered by other artists who have been further down the path or have created their own paths.

This reminds us that the artistic community is very important and needs to be fostered and continuously supported.

That’s why we took Operation Insight one step further. We interviewed the successful print maker, Kristina Hagman, and asked her the above questions (and more) for our Mumora podcast. We’re just putting the editing touches to the interview and can’t wait to share it with the artist community, there’s lots of interesting personal experiences and tips for artists. Stay tuned!

It’s always important to engage with the people around you and to learn from each other – that’s what we want to foster at Mumora. Sometimes, all it takes is asking a question to get the conversation going.

In the words of the Irish writer, James Stephan “We get wise by asking questions, and even if these are not answered, we get wise, for a well-packed question carries its answer on its back as a snail carries its shell.”

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If you have any questions you would like us to investigate, post them below in the comment section.