Color Style Kyle

Combining art, creativity, design, family, health, humor and books.

The Artist’s Spirit: Starting Out – Part 5 – Adaptability

Posted by Kyle Design on May 2, 2007

So, you want to be an artist. How do you know you have what it takes to make a career of it? This is the fifth in a series about what it takes to survive by a woman who has so far managed to make a living as an artist for 25 years.

Adaptability – An important lesson I learned along the way is that you have to be adaptable. I’m an artist who loves contemporary art, colorful abstracts and hard-edged designs. In the beginning that’s what I designed and there is a market for it, although that is just a portion of the potential market out there. Handpainted Silk and Metal NecklacesHowever, early on, I received a request to make some representational designs, to apply my creative talents to something recognizable. I finally relented, feeling I was perhaps selling out by not being true to my style. I designed an abstract heart and it immediately became my best-selling image. A light went off in my head. Was I trying to force my narrow preferences and tastes on everyone, or was I willing to use my talents to create stylish versions of familiar shapes, perhaps create a new twist on an old design? I began to enjoy the challenge of finding a new way to express the common. Poker Metal Wallet or Cigarette Case How about a poker design? What do you usually see – 4 playing cards splayed out, the queen of hearts, or a set of dice? Check out the design I came up with: Poker Gifts.  Doesn’t look like anyone else’s poker design you’ve seen, now does it? I like to rearrange elements. “Repetition and subordination”, I can still hear my late artist father’s voice saying in my head. “Break out of the predictable shape.” “Create something that hasn’t been done before.”

So let me just emphasize this point more specifically: listen to your customers. They will tell you what they want, what they need. Design that, and you have a ready-made market for it. I’ve had so many wonderful customers over the years who have taken the time to make suggestions for designs, bring segments of the market to my attention that I had no idea existed, or to ask if I could come up with something that could fill a need. It’s a win-win situation: they get what they were searching for, and you get a new customer base. This has been invaluable to me and has allowed me to survive in a challenging, fluid career that offers no guarantees. To any of you customers who’ve made those suggestions over the years – THANK YOU!!


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