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Cultivating Your Creative Life by Alena Hennessy

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(Text)
- 99 -
So, what does it take not only to survive but also to thrive as an art-
ist? Some may say luck or raw talent. But I happen to believe that a
good part of success is based on action. It is my personal thought
that energy is the building block of life, and when you put energy
into the world through creative work and action, the universe must
respond. Positive action brings positive response.
There is certainly some fear involved: fear of rejection, fear of
being broke, and fear of failure. But getting wrapped up in fear only
restricts your work and prevents you from taking action. Only by
working with consistency and resolve do our lives begin to change.
[ l earninG to fully listen H elps us understand tHe
situations around us. ]
Roots &
Branches
C H apter 7
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- 100 - CULTIVATING YOUR CREATIVE LIFE
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[ FLOAT smOOTh LY INTO ThE dIRECTION
OF YOUR dREAms. ]
“Do you want to know who
you are? Don’t ask.
Act! Action will delineate
and define you.
Thomas Jefferson
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ROOTS & BRANCHES - 101 -
For me, taking action means creating and sharing my work on a regular basis. And it goes beyond
sitting in the studio and working. Attending that art opening or gathering to socialize and network
can be taking action.
One breakthrough for me that involved taking action was attending the New York International
Gift Fair. A lot of the press I initially received came from that show and got my career off to a solid
start. I also made licensing deals with several companies to use my art on their products, for either
royalties or a flat fee.
Before I attended the show, however, I went to just check it out. I studied booth displays, the
inner workings of the fair, and how it all came together. After I traveled back home, I prepared my
application. I wanted to be accepted into one of the juried sections for artists, designers, or crafters.
Once I was accepted, I set some goals for myself. I wanted to receive a certain number of new
wholesale accounts, along with making more contacts with press and possible licensing deals. I
spoke these goals out loud to my partner before the show began.
When the show finally came, I was overwhelmed with joy when I had a line for buyers waiting to
place orders just as my booth was opening. This was several years ago, and I know things may have
changed since then at wholesale shows. Still, that experience was instrumental for me at the start of
my career. I did, in fact, not only meet my goals, but I also surpassed them.
Please know that attending a wholesale trade show can be a huge undertaking. Lately, I mostly
sell retail out of my studio storefront, along with on my website. Store buyers and licensors tend to
find me solely through my website now. I may exhibit at trade shows again someday, but the direc-
tion of my career has taken me on a different course as of late.
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