What does sustainable mean for an artist and art educator creating online content? My name is Carrie and here on Artist Strong I help artists refine their skill and develop their unique artist voice.

This is the last part of a 5 part series talking about being an artist and art educator creating content online. I share the story of building Artist Strong and today I talk about a word that keeps showing up in my life: sustainable.


What does sustainable mean to me? This question repeatedly shows up in my life. Each time I face an obstacle with Artist Strong or need to exhibit a little more of the patience I talked about in Part 4, I usually channel that energy into a project.

For years I thought: well, if I don’t have enough people seeing my work I’ll make more of it. Eventually, people will have to find me. Needless to say, this strategy often has me on a path to burn out. Thus the question: what does sustainable mean to me?

My definition changes and evolves as I do. Right now, I want the following:

  1. Time for my art. This is always important to me but I’ve decided to make this a greater focus in the coming year. I want to more actively test out strategies for building regular art income as another piece of my financial puzzle. I sell when I create, but I want to better apply strategies I talk about in The Circle GOLD to the new body of work I create.

This leads me to: (2) which is how can I make more clear cut down time and family time? One thing I’ve done this year is to plan vacations. As Artist Strong grows more and more opportunities come my way. So I’m taking Marie Forleo’s advice and getting on the no train. If it ain’t a hell yes, it’s a hell no. This is also hard for me because I also have SO MANY ideas!

art marketing, artist business, art business, art resources, artist life

So here are some other ideas I’m considering to help create more space in my life:

  • Dropping weekly prompts down to 5
  • Set clear email response times in my signature
  • Decrease my 6 posts a month
  • Only give new content to patrons on Patreon (like the podcast I keep thinking about)
  • No new online course creation
  • Schedule my art challenges to be quarterly

Brainstorming on my own offerings and asking me that question: is it a hell YES? Will be helpful to ensure my choices align with my idea of sustainable success.

Each year I want to look at my calendar and ask myself: what does sustainable mean to me? I want to look at program offerings, at my art, and reconsider, then reconfigure. Less is more and I’m ready to embrace this idea with action.

I hope today’s conversation gets you thinking about your own definition of sustainable and success. What do you really want for your art and life? What actions are you taking to reach these aims? Are they truly honoring the life you want to live?

Thank you for joining me on this five part series of reflection and vulnerability. I hope this inside peek into what has helped me grow our community has you inspired, reflective, and honoring exactly where YOU are in your art life.

Be Creatively Courageous: What does sustainable art practice look like to you? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.