When I first started revamping AddieRawr.com my greatest focus was to be transparent with my supporters. I could lie and say that everything is magical and my eyes light up every time I hear my Etsy "cha-ching" notification, but that's what I refuse to do.
I've been publicly showing and selling my artwork for 2 years now. In the past year I've lost many nights of sleep, become horribly sick and at times completely shut down from everyone because of the stress of being a growing and known artist. It's hard for those who are not in the shoes of an artist to fully understand the emotional and mental turmoil of sharing their passion with the world. As an artist we leave ourself vulnerable when sharing work and putting pieces up for sale. So when we are putting our 100% effort and love into it, it hurts when others take it for granted, or just simply disrespect our efforts. The biggest misconception is the thought that an artist should be "flattered" when someone steals their work. A week ago I had an inspiring artist copy my 14k piece exactly and resold the piece. When she was asked if I inspired her there was a lot of animosity in wanting to give me any credit. I later found out by speaking with the artist privately that she was given a picture of my work and asked to redo it. I explained to her that I personally don't think that's ok to copy another artist work and that I would've turned such request away. Then again, that's me and I know I create for different reasons than some. Please know I do not create and share for likes or money. If there was no Instagram or profit I'd still be doing this. There is absolutely nothing exciting about seeing someone copy my work and sell it as their own. I don't want a 'shoutout' or 'mention', I want artists to all love their talent and style and not completely copy another's work. It really sends me into their bad mood when someone copies my work and say "I didn't know who the artist was". But I say nothing, I don't even react in a public way. I may privately say something to the artist or I will simply ignore it and deal with it internally. I am an artist who wants to inspire others to love themselves, love their skills, be confident with their flaws and believe in themselves. I want other artist to be inspired by my work! But stealing and being inspired are two different things. I once seen this quote on Tumblr that said "If you don't know who the artist/author is please don't repost." So if you are a lover of art, an artist, or just enjoy a piece please please please keep in mind that piece of work belongs to an artist soul and should be respected as such.
That's not all I have to say. Nope, I've been stacked with emails for the past months and I've just been writing down all my annoyances with this lifestyle so I can share with others. Kidding, but not kidding. There is so much more that's been sending me into a "no response" attitude. I'll repeat this for the 10000th time; I do not solely create for fame or fortune" Success to me is way bigger than a bank account or followers. I put my all into creating an online platform that you can shop my items, see my progress, and learn the ins and out of being an artist. I don't speak that much into details of my personal life but as busy as I am with being a human plus a business owner leaves no room for the inconsideration. Just a little back story: I created Art & Ambition in 2012 just as a design side hustle, after 3 years of doing graphics and commission under Art & Ambition I begin to think bigger. Now 2016, I am working to make A&A a full service creative company. I take my baby serious and I handle everything about my business professionally. Let's all be adults, and if not adults at least the educated people I know we are. At least twice a day I get the question "where can I buy that?". It's mind-boggling when I have a full website that allows you to shop my items that people still can't seem to find the blue words that allow you to go directly to the answer. These are things that I honestly feel I can not continue to respond it. Not because I think I'm too good to answer, but I want my customers to really enjoy me as an artist and the only way they can do that is by exploring my page/website as much as one would to try to find out who Cam Newton is dating.
I think I always speak so highly of being an artrepreneur (an artist entrepreneur) but I never say the pain points that many outsiders are so unaware of. I know no one intentionally tries to disrespect me or any other artist but it's inevitably. As an optimistic and artist I believe maybe people just don't know the behind the scenes issues that we deal with. I promised myself that as long as I have AddieRawr.com: My Art Journey then I will always be open and give the pros and cons to this lifestyle. To my fellow artist who dream of being famous or just a successful in whatever way artist, please remember that there are more good than bad to it. There are going to be days when you just delete all your social media apps, ignore emails and refuse to answer question art related. There will also be days when you are seen as a mentor, a teacher, an inspiration and hero. Me personally I'd take the small headaches if it means I can save the world.
Tips to stay sane:
- Take every lose as a win. Even though you had a minor issue with copying and stealing see it as a chance to distinguish your work. Add a signature color, font, or even a fro 😊
- There's never too many times to say/write your website or social media handles. On every post, every flyer, every business cards make sure you're doing your part in letting others know where to find your work
- Search your name. Google your art work titles, your name or social media handle. You'd be surprise by where your work may be hiding
- Thank those who do give you credit. Appreciate those who repost, retweet, reblog your work. It only takes 2 seconds to type "thanks"
- Treat other artist the way you would want to be treated.