The Business of Creativity
Marisa S. White talks artistic dreams and business skills
—Trust Fall, by Marisa S. White
“We have to trust the process. There’s a reason for everything.” —Marisa S. White
Preview: Episode 87 Marisa S. White on the Business of Art
Scheduling. Goal setting. Fee structures. These are essential aspects of making a career of your creative practice. And in this week’s episode of Emerging Form with surrealist artist/fine art photographer Marisa S. White, we learn just how creative some of these business skills can be. Marisa shares what she learned from her business degree and experience as a business owner and how she’s applied listening, communication skills, organizing, and planning to her creative career. She offers practical ways to ask for help if you don’t have business experience, breaks down goal setting into bite-sized bits, and shares creative ways she’s tested how to price her work.
Marisa S. White is an award-winning artist best known for seamlessly stitching multiple photographs together, weaving personal narratives through surreal and fantastical imagery. Originally a drawing and painting major, Marisa fell in love with photography in college and eventually began incorporating it into her work, creating mixed media collages.
Marisa’s work is collected internationally, and she has exhibited across the US and in Europe; most notably at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California. She recently opened True North Art Gallery in Colorado Springs with two other artists.
What We’re Reading and Listening to:
I hesitate to say too much about this—give yourself eight minutes to take in this quiet conversation, this discovery, this humility, this generosity of spirit, this sweet poetic communion. From the film Paterson.
Ohmygosh, I have been waiting for Kindness Will Save the World, a book of essays by James Crews who spoke with us about creative mindfulness (episode 34), and I utterly completely love it. The intimacy of it. The vulnerability in it. The fussiness and the elation, the honesty and the occasional whimsy. I have skipped all around the book and read across the sections. I’ve read the invitations and the kindness practices and I love how attainable it feels, and how it also feels like an imperative. Kindness, please, now. James delivers. I love the daily-ness of it and the big picture. I love the length of the pieces and the feel of the book in my hands. It’s poetry, even so it’s essayettes. It’s glorious, life-affirming wonderfulness.
We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman beautifully captures the private universe in which a dying person and their loved ones exist during the tender, heart-breaking, clarifying and sometimes tedious and prolonged process of dying. The story follows life-long friends Ali and Edi as the latter’s cancer necessitates a move into hospice. It’s sad, but also funny and I’m glad I read it, even as I found the storyline about Ali’s sex life ridiculous, contrived and unbelievable. I heard about the novel at Three Great Books, a terrific newsletter with book recommendations by my friend Katie Hobson.
I loved this visual New York Times piece, Elegy for an Altered Planet. A collaboration between photographer Christopher Valentine and writer Lydia Millet, it’s a story about our weird, wondrous and human-altered world.
I just returned from a meeting where we were given a presentation about AI and ChatGPT and now I’m sort of obsessed with playing around with it. ChatGPT is silly and smart-ish and often full of shit. I asked it to write my bio multiple times, and in each instance, I picked up new degrees from Universities I’d never attended and accomplishments I’d never known about. Sometimes it does ok though. For instance, I asked chat GPT “What is Emerging Form?” Here is its answer:
Overall, "Emerging Form" is a term that suggests a sense of novelty, fluidity, and unpredictability, and is often associated with creativity, innovation, and experimentation.
Our New Instagram Account!
We are so excited that Leah, our amazing audio engineer and support staff extraordinaire has helped us create a new instagram account … join us there for sneak peaks and highlights and more!
Three Images by Marisa S. White
“Drift into the Unknown” by Marisa S. White
“No. 9” by Marisa S. White
“My Darling, What If You Fly” by Marisa S. White
Our New Instagram Account!PS—A post-podcast-recording message from Marisa S. White
You asked me how the business side of art gets in the way of the creative side after I chatted about feeling more productive working the business and I had a hard time giving an example. Naturally, something concrete came to me while making breakfast.
I’ve developed a weird fear of wasting time. Perhaps it’s the perfectionist side of me but I don’t want to spend hours creating a piece that isn't going to make it into my portfolio. This completely takes away that sense of play that is often necessary when creating anything and creates an opportunity for procrastination to set in. I find for myself that procrastination is one of the negative side effects of perfectionism. And let’s face it, perfection doesn’t really exist!
So, it’s moments like these when I have to honor the time in my calendar to work on my art, to overcome procrastination. I’ll also take classes in different mediums which allows me the freedom to play and experiment, which can often lead to breakthroughs. Ultimately I have to be kind to myself and give constant reminders that not every piece can be a masterpiece….and that’s okay too!
A Note About Paid Subscriptions:
First, we want to thank ALL our subscribers! We are so grateful you join us in this conversation about what it is to engage with yourself, the world and others in a creative way. And a BIG thank you to our paid subscribers. You make this podcast possible. Starting this month, only our paid subscribers will receive our bonus episodes as a thank you for their financial support.
This week, Marisa talks about how a really negative critique helped solidify her commitment to her art, how an accountability buddy can serve your creative practice, and how she invites her muse to show up. If you are not yet a paid subscriber, you can go now to our website, EmergingForm.substack.com, or by clicking the button below. Thank you!
(share your answers with us here on Substack or in our FB group)
What business skill do you most wish you had for supporting your artistic dreams?
What job have you had (besides artist) that has taught you the most about the business of creativity?
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