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  • Shelley Pisani

Find Your Purpose

Ever get asked why you do what you do? Everyone does no matter what career path you follow. For me, knowing my purpose is what keeps me in check. It stops me from deviating off my main path. Sometimes you can be lured by an opportunity because of what it offers - usually money. But is it the right opportunity for you? Will it just end up giving you grief?

A conversation I have had with a lot of visual artists helps to exemplify my point here. Many artists take on commission work. They might get contacted by a potential client who has something very specific in mind. Some artists I have spoken too took on every commission that came their way early in their careers in order to build their reputation and get paid! In hindsight though, many were asked to create something outside of normal practice. For example, painting a family portrait instead of the landscapes their work is traditionally based in. These artists expressed that they got no satisfaction from this type of work and felt that what they produced was not to their standard. So in the end, it might have brought in some dollars, but it wasn't a reputation building commission.


If you are able to articulate your purpose - your why - and set boundaries for yourself, you are going to strengthen your practice and your brand no matter the art form you work in. Your purpose should be what gives you that buzz when you complete that work, performance or project.


Ask yourself:

  • What motivates me to develop new work or projects in my practice?

  • What values do I stand behind in my practice that I won't compromise on?

  • What is the scope of what I am willing to produce based on my skills and experience?

  • What do I enjoy creating and what do I want to avoid?

  • Do I want to push myself in a new direction? If so, what do I need to do to upskill?

If you can clearly articulate answers to these questions, you are heading in the right direction to keep to your path in your arts practice.

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