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Successful Artist Guide: 3 Core Components

Updated: Mar 4

By: Xavier Hardison

August 27, 2023

The journey to becoming a successful artist is a lifelong commitment. It involves trusting your creative process, constantly learning and growing as a person, and a willingness to try new things. I am still technically an emerging artist, but the things I've learned through my first 10 years as an artist are invaluable. I have simplified the 3 core components to becoming a successful artist below.

1) A Motive

Photography by Tan Bui

The first thing you must have is a motive. A reason for doing what you do. This can range from a basic thought or idea to a personal theme or identity exploration. Your driving principle behind making art is simply whatever compels you to make something! Investigating a particular subject matter is just as valid as using your work to engage with important political issues. Remember, a motive is self-defined and is something only you can know. Keep it to yourself or share it with the world, but knowing the "why" behind what you do can take you a long way in developing as an artist.

2) A Method - a distinct method

Second, you need to have a method. The more distinct your method the better because it further distinguishes yourself from other artists. Having a unique process helps create an identity which people can recognize. For me, I create sandstones in my studio using sand and paint which become X-Artifacts. Someone approached me earlier this year and said "That's the sand guy!", to which I smiled and replied "Yes, I am :)". Having specific identifiers in your work creates excitement, helps connect to your audience, and ultimately pushes your work in a new direction. With that being said, you can achieve this in numerous ways. You should have a method of your own that conveys something special to you.

3) A Personality

Last is personality, which comes effortlessly for artists! What's the point of doing something if you don't do it with style? Oftentimes this is so natural that we don't think twice about our stylistic choices, but they are choices nonetheless. Understanding why we make certain choices is crucial because they reveal who we are! In any great movie the main character has specific traits and tendencies which make them admirable (or despised). As an artist, it is your job to infuse your own personality into your work. The more fun you can have with your art, the more these traits will start to reveal themselves.

I hope this is insightful to everyone tuning in! Until next time :)

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