• Kristian Treen

How to GROW as an ARTIST in 2020: 5 KILLER Tips

magicians in Leeds Kristian Treen

Hello my fellow artiste. Thank you for choosing to spend a little bit of time with me. For those of you who don't know, I am a close-up magician. But enough about me, this post is all about you. Whatever your calling, whether you are a sculptor, a dancer, a singer, a musician or maybe even a hula-hooper (I can never get the hoop to spin) grab yourself a skinny chai latte, or perhaps something stronger (Boilermaker anyone?) and let's find out how you can grow as an artist.


Let's be real. Money is a necessary part of life. There is a common perception that artists stand above the financial cacophony, reclining in armchairs and smoking pipes as the days roll by. This is complete bullshit. Artists are just like anyone else living in today's world. They need money to live.

Artists need to be enterprising. Artists need to learn how to turn their passion into profit. The goal, however, should not just be to survive but to thrive. Rather than just making enough money to scrape by each month, artists need to sit down with themselves and strategize. Make a financial plan. Work out your outgoings and devise a way to ensure more money comes in than goes out. If you're in the early stages of your artistic career or are currently experiencing a dry spell (hey, we all have em) then consider looking beyond your artform for a financial piggyback. That brings us on to our next point...


All artists need to be realistic. If your art ain't making money then you need to get it from somewhere. There is no shame in working a casual job just to pay the bills. It seriously annoys me when an artistic person feels ashamed to be waiting tables or making coffee. If this sounds like you then understand this: you care far too much what other people think of you. If you are truly committed to your craft then you will do whatever it takes to make it work. If doing whatever it takes means cleaning up vomit from a nightclub dance floor (there's always a carrot in there) or stacking shelves with a ceaseless stream of dry roasted peanuts (mmmmm, peanuts) then so be it.

Surely it's better to work a casual job that still affords you time to focus on your art than take a well-paid, secure job that leaves you no time to paint, draw, write or whatever it is that you do. Relying solely on your art to generate income is both risky and unnecessary. Money is important, yes, but you don't want to be making art purely for the cash. Being completely money orientated will quickly make you fall out of love with your artform and put a massive amount of pressure on your artsy shoulders. Having multiple incomes - your art, a casual job and something else that makes you money (don't sell drugs) - will put you in a far better financial position. It also means that if one of the streams stops generating cash, then you have your other streams to fall back on. Get it?

magicians in Leeds Kristian Treen


If you are serious about your art then you need to put in the work. You must strive every single day to be better than you were yesterday. Daily incremental improvements will allow you to excel in your field and guess what? The better you are, the more money you will make. This is true in any field. The best footballers, singers, builders, dolphin trainers (probably) get paid the highest wages. How do you become the best? Effort.

This is common sense. But unfortunately as the saying goes, common sense isn't common practice. How often our actions don't match our ambitions. We tell ourselves we are going to be the greatest performer of all time, yet we spend 5 hours every day watching Netflix. Look, I'm not saying you can't chill. You should 100% relax and enjoy some downtime. But don't let your downtime become all the time. If you truly want to become a great artist then you need to make sacrifices. You need to prioritise what's important and set yourself goals and deadlines in order to progress. This (how convenient) brings us on to our next point...


What is it you want? How much money do you want to make? When do you want to achieve your goal by? The more specific you are about your goal the better. Saying something like 'I want to be a successful artist who makes loads of money' is about as useful as a hole in a bouncy castle. It would be far better to set a goal which goes along these lines: 'By 31st September 2020 I want to be making $3000 per month from my various streams of income'. See the difference. Not only have you created a time frame in which to achieve your goal but you have also stated very specifically what you want.

Being aligned with a clear goal greatly enhances your chances of success. It's a really good idea to write your specific goal down and put it somewhere you can always see it. I like to use post-it notes as you can put them anywhere (anywhere you say?) But yeah, having a clearly defined goal is vital for anyone in any field. We all have dreams. But there is a big difference between goals and dreams. Dreams require thought. Goals require action. Stop dreaming and start doing.

magicians in Leeds Kristian Treen


Being an artist is tough. You will face rejection (plenty of times), criticism, disappointment and a load of other frustrating shit. It's all part of the process. You have to love what you do and be in it for the long haul. If you're not prepared to be patient and enjoy the becoming as much as the being then maybe you should stick to stacking peanuts (mmmmm peanuts).

But seriously, you need to understand that success doesn't happen to you. Success happens because of you. You achieve your bliss when you wholeheartedly plunge headfirst into the beautiful process of becoming. Accept the lows and enjoy the highs. When I was about 7 years old, my mum used to play this CD in the car (how pre-historic do CD's sound now!) It was a Ronan Keating CD (Google him if you don't know who he is, I'll wait for you)

* waiting *

Annnnnd, you're back. So yeah, Ronan Keating had this famous song titled Life is a Rollercoaster and he advised that 'you just gotta ride it.'

Truer words were never said.

Ride your rollercoaster my friends.


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