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From the outside looking in, the life of an artist is easy. How difficult could it possibly be to draw, paint or sculpt for a living? Let Palm Harbor, FL based artist Laura Allen James tell it and you may be surprised to know that being an artist isn’t as laid back as it seems.
“Being a professional artist is so much more than producing work,” James said. “Artists must balance production of work and marketing the work.”
James has been working professionally as an artist for three years. She has been blessed to have her work presented in several galleries and she also works with interior designers on special projects. Though it seems that James has much going for herself, she acknowledges that it was very difficult to establish herself as a serious artist when she first began her career. She advises up and coming artists to “decide if you really want to commit yourself to the business end of the art world. Get all the information you can about the art scene in your area and study up on marketing techniques.”
Although it is important to have a good understanding of the business side of art, let’s not forget that the main objective of an artist is to create. A typical work day for James includes sketching, painting, updating and maintaining her online presence, and researching galleries. She creates abstract and scenic images using acrylic paints which offer more flexibility than other paints.
“Abstract equals total freedom of expression,” she said. “It is a true creation of something out of nothing-no reference. Scenic pieces are just lovely to me. I love catching a frozen moment and calling attention to the beauty all around us in our everyday lives.”
The beauty all around us also serves as inspiration. James is in awe of the sea. In addition to its beauty and fluidity, she appreciates its color, sound, power and mystery. Some would likely say the same of her work. As it is often said, there is power in words. Four of James’ pieces feature word art that is unlike any of her other work. The pieces, “Love Mercy”, “Speak Truth”, “Wisdom Speak”, and “Know Truth”delivers a message and features a layering technique that she had not used in her previous art.
Even as a successful artist, James knows the importance of continuously evolving. This can be achieved by seeking more education. Artists should attend local workshops and seminars and, as James recommends, join art associations and obtain a mentor. It is vital to have a mentor in any industry. The wealth of information that these individuals are able to share is invaluable.
Of course, the age old method of acquiring education is through schooling, but going this route may prove to be a little difficult. Schools are cutting fine arts programs daily due to budget cuts. This, despite the fact that it has been proven that fine arts education helps students improve in other subject areas such as math and English.
“I understand our economy is in dire straits and that cuts must be made somewhere but I think that removing the arts programs from school is not the wisest choice,” James said. “Learning about art is so much more than looking at the pictures. It is seeing the world from a new perspective, learning about other points of view and ways to communicate. Broadening your view of the world is a very good thing.”
James is represented by Gallery Woo and will be presenting at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center in St. Petersburg, FL in the near future. For more information on the artist and to view her art, visit ljamesart.com.