I realize this morning why I’m feeling stuck.

I just found out there is no Santa Claus.

Part of my muddle comes from reading an odd little book called The Awful Truth About Selling Art by Dan Fox.

Mr. Fox shows us one way artists can be successful–I paid $15 for this book, which took me about 20 minutes to read. To be fair, you can probably get it second-hand.

Fox’s book is caustic and cautionary, explaining why most of us will never get into a major art gallery and why most of us will never be a rising art star. (For one thing, I’m now too old to be an emerging artist….) He also explains why we shouldn’t want to get into a major art gallery.

He goes on to tell us how none of the other ways of marketing ourselves and selling our art will work, either. We’re left with perhaps having some modest success as a “local” art-in-the-park level artist, or teaching or suicide. (Just kidding, there are a couple of other choices available.) (Oh, wait, no, there weren’t.)

It’s incredibly discouraging, yet pretty much what I already knew about selling art.

On the other hand, I didn’t become an artist to become rich and famous. (Okay, I was hoping to become a little bit rich, and a little famous….) I do crave some kind of success, even if I’m not sure what that looks like right now–especially in this economy.

So how to have wild, audacious, fabulous dreams and goals for our art, knowing that in reality, most of them will never come true?

How do you avoid letting this become an excuse for not making art? (“I’ll never sell my work anyway, why make it??”)

How do you let go of outcome, and yet still have goals?

How do you figure out what it is you want to achieve, and then accept you might never achieve that?

And then go make art anyway?

It’s sort of like when I first found out there was no Santa Claus. I remember thinking I knew it was too good to be true, but it had been fun to pretend it might be.

Just because there is no Santa Claus, that doesn’t mean we should quit striving for goodwill, peace and love in the world.

If I can figure this out, maybe I’ll have a place to rest my brain while the rest of me makes wall hangings this year.

I have a funny feeling that, if I work on my artist statement, that may give me a clue.

P.S. Actually, I think I just found everything I need in the January 2009 issue of Oprah magazine….

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

3 thoughts on “WHAT?? NO SANTA CLAUS??!!”

  1. Luann,

    Thanks for such an insightful blog. I have recently renewed my Crafts Report subscription because I want to make sure I read your other columns too.

    So what is it that O or Oprah said that hit home? I actually blogged about that issue yesterday as well. It was an issue that had many good things. I don’t watch daytime tv, but may tune in to her first week of 2009. Sounds like some good stuff!

    Not to sound preachy….but as they say…you gotta believe. Believe in him (Santa), believe in your success, believe in it all….or it can’t come to you. He may not be wearing a red suit and be big and fat, but perhaps the idea of Santa, the ideaology, can come to fruition. I think we all need to believe, in order for change to begin with us. That’s my daily goal…but yeah… it’s not as easy as it sounds.

    Thanks again. Great blog…great post!




  2. How does that saying go… something about not grasping at outcomes. Just do what you’re going to do, be present, and let go of expectations.

    (and on the other hand, have your goals, and if you want to be wildly rich and famous, go for it. It’s an acceptable goal. Read Barbara Sher’s Wishcraft for more on how to make it happen. I think she’s put all or most of the book online free.)

    …back to cooking dinner…


  3. ….as I was reading (and laughing)…for us artist types these things may ring true.

    And then, another thought occurred,

    What if you had another profession/vocation–as many of us artists have had at some point to supplement…

    …should we not pursue a certain type of work if we are not the most efficient or popular secretary/administrative assistant/ public relations spokesperson/ best nurse on the ward/ greatest mechanic/ psychologist….

    It is okay to just be an artist—or is it?

    To be content/ self-sufficient are pretty high on my list. The employee review process is every bit as rigorous when I am facing myself in the mirror as it was with a “stranger” sitting across from me.

    Of course, I like to be comfortable in lifestyle, and if I have made it through another day as my own boss, that is how I measure my success.

    I have wild, fabulous dreams about a lot of things. Most of them will not come true. But I certainly could never opt out of “dreaming”.

    Could you?

    …I really enjoy the honesty your writing, Luann.



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