The Business

Bisignes, from the Old English meaning ‘care, anxiety, occupation (as in occupied with)’, is the root of ‘busyness’, and although the meaning has changed throughout time, the root meaning of anxiety still probably holds true for a large amount of artists today. We’ve probably all heard cliché things like artists aren’t good at business (or math) and we artists just accept that this is true because people say it is. A self-fulfilling prophecy. I don’t really hold to those ideas, but I will say this- being a creative and running the business of being a creative is a lot to deal with.

Been There, Done That

As I have hinted at before, in a previous life I was a sculptor. Not only did I make art, have gallery representation and sell sculpture, I ran a metal fabrication business AND ran an Etsy shop (which is still live but unused). I am no stranger to running a business (neither is Suzanne for that matter!). However, it was exhausting and eventually led to total burnout, failing health and an existential crisis. Whew.

Shae in her metal studio circa 2017. Photo courtesy Sybille Peretti.

I am not really about to do that again, so the business of art I am talking about for this MFA program has more to do with learning how to make passive income via teaching and designing, utilize technology to improve my business opportunities, learn time management skills that work for me, and to put my energy towards teaching and sharing my knowledge. I want to create an art centered life that fills my cup instead of draining it.

Many things on my list will be concurrent skills, i.e., when I learn how to film and edit tutorials, I am one step closer to having an eventual way to make passive income from those tutorials (theoretically). Slowly but surely, I’m working my way through a few Skillshare classes that deal with video editing, and of course Creativebug has a some great classes: one by Lisa Congdon, Building a Creative Brand; another by Lisa Solomon appropriately titled ‘So You Want to Be a Professional Artist?’.

Art + Healing

There is one more piece to this puzzle for me. After I quit metal work, I had a lot of healing to do. In the process, as happens to a lot of people, I uncovered my gift for healing. I did things that had been close to my heart for decades and had never been realized: I became a certified herbalist, I deepened my astrology and esoteric studies, and became a Reiki master teacher. I explored all manner of healing modalities and really dug into mind-body connections, studied breathwork and movement therapies (to deal with my musculoskeletal issues). This is the work I do now, and I love it, but the fact of the matter is, I was born an artist, I will always BE an artist. Art journaling filled the void that was there after quitting metal work, and my real business is figuring out how to merge my artistic and healing skills and what that will look like in the coming years.

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