Hello there !
It’s with excitement that I am writing my first newsletter today.
Thank you for trusting me and jumping on my list right at the beginning.
We are a small group of 6 people right now. Most of us are artists and designers, and I believe we have a lot in common.
I am not sure I was ready for this first email really.
When I planned to send out newsletters, I had this idea of making them very structured, articulated around different subjects and sharing not-so-random stuff with you. But this weekend, I had a brainstorming session with myself, and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.
As you might know, eight months ago I moved out from the UK with my family (two small children and my husband) to live in a small Spanish village. We didn’t move for jobs, as a lot of people think anytime we tell our story.
My husband was a University Professor and he is officially on a sabbatical. I was a stay-at-home mum, and I had been the past seven years, and I am officially training as a surface designer and working towards my dream of making a living from my artwork.
We sold our house, found a nice place to live (where our eldest could go to a democratic school), and we pretty much started a new life. Because we know what’s important for us as a family now, and we know what kind of life we want in the future, we chose to act according to our values.
Bottom line is that this life won’t last unless I do make a living with my artwork.
If not, we would probably have to move again, or find a job here.
So, here I am, trying to figure out HOW to make a living with my artwork as a surface designer. I read a lot on how to monetize my designs (I am a member at the Textile Design Lab, and I have taken the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design classes, all very helpful. I can recommend it to you.)
I know that I have different possibilities. Nothing is guaranteed of course, but I can map my way towards an objective.
And I decided that my first goal was to find a print studio to collaborate with or an agent to represent my work.
The tricky part is, as you might have guessed, I am a person with very strong convictions. My values are leading my life. I really am trying hard to live as consciously as possible, and that means I do not want to work with anybody. I am sorry if that sounds arrogant or ungrateful, but the truth is that I would not be happy and I would not feel fulfilled if my work is not in alignment with my values.
So the big question is how can I still make money and choose my clients? Is it even possible?
Should I just start selling my work to anyone interested and being grateful for the opportunity, without questioning too much where my designs will end up? Is it really a big deal if I am making money by collaborating with a company who supports child labor or poor environmental policies? Is it OK to sell my work to the fast fashion industry or to a company that ignore the most basic human rights and exploit their employees?
Said like that, I am sure we agree that is not OK.
So how do I make sure this is not happening?
Are my views biased and most of the companies buying or licensing artwork are indeed respectable with good intentions?
I DON’T KNOW.
To be honest, my head is about to explode.
It is the third time I am trying to make a living from my creativity. The first two times, I did not pursue because I felt my business was not aligned with my values. So this time, I want to make it right.
I am dying to live as a surface designer. Dreaming of having a long list of faithful clients, with my designs seen on cool and beautiful products. But it would be so much better if I could really be proud by collaborating with companies and individuals who are trying hard to make a positive impact on the world.
What are your views on the subject? Are you sensitive to these issues as well, or are you going with the flow?
Maybe I should just do what I love and honor any client that wants to work with me, without judgment, trusting that with time I will get to this ideal life where my values and my work will be perfectly aligned. I just need to have faith and be patient.
Please share your thoughts with me and be my guide.
Thank you for reading until the end, I hope I haven’t brought you down with me. My intention is, on the contrary, to find a way to lift each others up with respect and care. And to find a way to all live decently from our talents. We all deserve it.