• Liz

Artist Burnout


I suffer from creative burnout more times a year than I care to admit. A lot of artists do, but we don't talk about it. In a perfect world our work would only involve the creative bits. We would be able to outsource all of the technical bits. We'd be able to pay someone to photograph and list our art, update our CV's (fancy artist resume), archive our work both physically and digitally, manage our studios (pick up supplies when we're running low), pitch us to galleries, send out press releases, wire/frame our art, communicate on our social media, update our websites, send out newsletters, etc. Truth is only about 30% of our work is creative. The rest of our time is spent just trying to get our work out into the world.

Last year I spent over a month hand-painting pieces to mail out to magazines hoping for a feature. I have worked with great organizations like The Artisans Group to get my art in the hands of major celebrities. And it has worked, however, art is a very personal thing. You never know who is going to connect with your art or care about your story. So at that point it's really just dumb luck.


Creation doesn't cause artist burnout. It's all of the other things we have to do to get our art into the hands of people who are really going to appreciate it.


I basically just consider burnout part of the process now, because I can’t really slow down. If I slow down art stops selling. If art stops selling then I don’t have money for supplies. If I don’t have money for supplies I can’t make new art.


Literally all I do is sustain. It’s not just 6 studio hours that I put in every day. It’s every post, email, submission, etc. It’s tedious fucking work and no one talks about it. This is why it is SO, SO important to share the work of artists you enjoy. I cannot emphasize this enough. Our work doesn't matter if it doesn't sell, because we can't create more if we don't have the money for supplies. And that sucks.


Anyway, I wasn't trying to bring anybody down. I just wanted to give you an inside look into the life of an artist. It is not just creating, because our survival depends on our work being seen. I cannot even begin to express how much your continued support means to me. <3

© 2016 by Liz Kelly Zook. 

Nashville, TN, United States

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