I’ve never been one to squash a person’s dreams. If you have a dream…pursue it to the fullest! But, dreams or not, being a successful artist, that earns a good living, is very hard to do. You should know most artists fail at it…just as most musicians fail, most actors fail, most poets fail and most writers fail. (When I say fail, I am referring to fail at making decent bucks at their art.)
-Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
“If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery--isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum
When it comes to working in the art field, what works best for me is to run my art life by the old adage …don’t shit where you eat. I make money in non-art areas to fund what I want to do in the art areas. Even if a photog is lucky enough to work in their field, they have to ask the question…would they be taking the same photos they do if they were not getting paid for it?
My social documentary work absorbs most of my time and energy. I would have nothing left in creative energies for my own work if I was shooting weddings, graduations, engagements and product shots of cups and saucers. I would also hate every minute of it, as I have no interest in shooting those things…my art would suffer. (Now, if I was shooting half-naked, gorgeous women all day, I guess I could suffer through it!)
Artists can get gratification and recognition from a multitude of areas. One area of gratification is from selling their work or services. They get labeled a ‘professional’ when money enters the equation and their ego gets a boost. But, there can be only so much gratification in doing something you don’t want to do just because someone pays you for it.
I prefer to work on self-funded projects and be able to do exactly what I want for my art. While that may produce some glory, it can be money draining. So there is no perfect solution unless you are lucky enough to be rich or you can sell your photo of a tricycle for half a million dollars, a photo you found on Instagram for $90,000 or your dirty bed for millions.
-Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
I’ve worked on projects for almost a year full time, investing nearly $15,000 of my own money in it…and I failed to even give it away for free. The projects were landmark and had outstanding content. If you’ve seen my work you know I don’t sign my name to garbage. But that is how it can be with art. Don’t take any of it personally, you just keep moving on to the next project. Expectations are pre-planned resentments. This is why I tell you to work blind and not build up expectations.
Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one
- Charles Horton Cooley