Sergio Lopez - North SF Bay Area Fine Artist

Upcoming Shows and Events

•Spoke Art: April 7, 2016. "The 5th Annual Moleskine Show." San Francisco, CA.

•Bakersfield Museum of Art: April 9th, 2016. "Kern County Plein Air." Bakersfield, CA.

•Christopher Queen Gallery: May 1st, 2016. "The Golden Hour." Duncans Mills, CA.

•Abend Gallery: May 13th, 2016. "Contemporary Figuration." Denver, CO.

•Paso Arts Fest: May 26th, 2016. "Signature Exhibition." Paso Robles, CA.

•Los Gatos: June 18th, 2016. "Los Gatos Plein Air." Los Gatos, CA.

Sonoma Plein Air: September 10th, 2016 "Sonoma Plein Air." Sonoma, CA.

•Modern Eden Gallery: September 17th, 2016. Beautiful Bizzare Invitational Show. San Francisco, CA.

•Christopher Queen Gallery: October 2nd, 2016. "A Splendid Journey: 40th Anniversary Show." Duncans Mills, CA.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My thoughts on "Making It"

Since putting up that poll I've learned that most of my blog visitors are fellow artists.   I don't know where most of you lie in the spectrum of skill level (hence the new poll) but I think this post can be of service to a lot of people whose goal is to one day "make it" as an artist.  I have been going back and forth with a young student (19 or 20) and she asked me how it's been going career-wise.  As almost any student would agree, parents have a huge degree of worry over their child struggling as "starving artist."  Now, I have by no means 'made it' yet, but I feel like I've learned a lot so far, so take it as you will.  Here was my response to her:

"I'm not gonna lie to you, it's not an easy thing to be a successful artist. There's no guarantee of anything, and you have to be willing to sacrifice all of your free time to improvement-basically dedicate your life to your craft... Think of it like being a doctor and getting a ph.D and that's pretty much your level of study, only it never stops... With that being said, it's awesome once you get to see all the hard work pay off. I can't see myself doing anything else besides art.

When I first graduated I spent a year working on my portfolio then I worked as a concept artist in San Rafael for almost 3 years. It was a good job while it lasted, and it helped pay off my school debt. Once the company dissolved I found myself scrambling for anything I could find to be able to make rent. I decided then that if I going to be on the brink of pennilessness (sp) I might as well be creating exactly what I want to create. That's when I decided to make a full go at fine art, and that's what I'm doing now.

2010 was very much feast-or-famine, but fortunately I have my parents here to fall back on while I figure the business side of art out as I go along. Thanks to them I've not yet had to consider looking for a job outside of art since. 2011 looks to be a good year. I am starting to get larger shows, and getting more and more accolades. A goal for the end of the year is to finally have my own studio.

So how to avoid being a starving artist? In other words, how do you 'make it?' I think there are 3 main things:
1. Skill
2. Putting yourself out there in as many different places as you can
3. Having a unique voice in your work that is valuable

Fortunately these have very little to do with what school you go to. You can gain skill from almost any dedicated art school. If your main goal is to learn the craft of painting and drawing, I would recommend an atelier if you have the money to spend on it (they're not accredited so you can't really get government grants for them) otherwise accredited art schools are also very good. I judge schools on the quality of the teacher/student work. If you don't like what they do, don't go there, because that's what they'll teach you to do, basically. Nowadays I supplement my education through art books, museums, and websites... I'm constantly finding new art and good pictures to feed my brain and keep me motivated to improve.

Finding a unique voice has a lot to do with skill and practice and is what really separates the herd. Those three things are all inter-connected. Skill is what will get you to that point, and putting yourself out there will get people to recognize your skill and voice. You can make a mediocre living being a mediocre artist as long as you constantly put yourself in front of the right eyes. It's very easy to get to the middle, that's the good news. The further up you want to go, the harder and harder it gets, but the rewards get better and better.

I know I wrote a lot here, but it's all stuff that no one told me when I first started. I was so ignorant, I didn't even know that I would want to know this stuff someday. If I did know, it would have saved me time and stress down the line. Good luck, and feel free to ask me anything else!

Please feel free to chime in.  Add, challenge, ask, etc.  Maybe I'll be compelled to add more to it if I get enough feedback.

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