Why I HAD to go from Artist to Artpreneur

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Allow me to Re-Introduce Myself…

Hello!

Welcome to the Rock-It Blog! If you were looking for inspiration, tips, and think pieces to help you ROCK-IT into your journey from Artist to Artpreneur, then you came to the right place. Welcome. There’s a whole community waiting to hug you online and not make you feel like you are a sellout :)

Photo by Jacqueline Bermudez

Photo by Jacqueline Bermudez

My name is Michelle Ivette Gomez. I am an artist turned curator turned Artpreneur turned Launch Strategist based in Miami, FL!

Phew, what a journey. But it all lead me here...working with Womxn & Feminine Identifying Artists to launch their arts businesses!

As a recovering over-achiever, I have done everything under the sun when it comes to my arts career ever since I was 8 years old. After getting two arts degrees (A BFA in General Fine Arts + and MFA in Curatorial Practice), tons of awards, internships, fellowships, curating 30+ labor of love art exhibitions/programs that I never got paid for, experiencing a lot of job hopping in the non profit industry, art world abuse, employment discrimination, and odd low paying arts “honorariums and stipends” here and there…I had to say, enough is enough.

I was so used to being broke all the time, and my artist community was too. I was resentful of the fact that I spent 6 years in art school with no practical life or business strategies under my belt. School just kept encouraging me to apply to museum or teaching jobs with no insight into artpreneurship or starting a business.

Things HAD to change, ASAP (including my network).

I wondered if it was just me thinking this is the artist’s way? Or was I just resisting the fact that I am truly an independent Artpreneur? If I am an artist who can create anything, how can I redesign my life?

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I decided to move from Baltimore, MD where I spent 8 years of my career in school and practicing as an independent curator within the non profit industrial complex to my hometown of Miami, FL to “figure it out”. This happened after I suffered from a panic attack, combined with overall high functioning depression & anxiety, and experiencing years of co-dependent & toxic relationships & friendships.

I went to the beach and meditated to reflect on my entire career. I asked myself:

  1. What do I love doing the most?

  2. What can I shed what no longer serves me?

  3. How can I do what I love (curating art exhibitions and events) and make a living?


While I believed that with art, anything is possible, I also doubted I could solely survive as a curator because:

  1. All I ever heard was how that “dat art life” is not sustainable. (These are all limiting projected fears btw - let those people go ASAP to start your biz)

  2. Art is a side hustle or a labor of love project that you do as a woman while in a relationship with a partner who has their shit together.

  3. I only knew of curators who either had trust funds or got paid by working in museums, which was not my cup of tea.

In front of Barbara Kruger at the Hirshorn Museum in DC. Photo by Fluffy Pop Postcards.

In front of Barbara Kruger at the Hirshorn Museum in DC. Photo by Fluffy Pop Postcards.

So I imagined this Golden Thread tying together all of my skills, best experiences, and core values into a practical business. I realized...OMG I am an Event Planner! Why didn’t I claim this title before in the arts industry?! Then a voice came to me and said - aha! Why not think of weddings as art exhibitions?

I gave myself 90 days to research EVERYTHING about entrepreneurship. I then launched Creative Unions Event Design in 2017, the first event planning company dedicated to curating art exhibitions for weddings and life’s celebrations! It was a huge hit, and it has grown ever since (I even sold my first art exhibition for the most money I have ever seen in my entire life)!

I thought I was doing everything right, but the business did not grow as quickly as I thought it would even though I knew about branding, messaging, and overall production.

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I always wanted to share this knowledge with my arts community across the country who kept struggling with mindset, business strategy, and getting paid for their invaluable work as creatives.

After running the business for almost two years…this past Summer of 2018. I thought, things MUST change (again!)

I meditated, and that same voice that came to mind when I developed my event planning company came back. That voice - she’s my higher self. She comes out when I meditate, she gives me all the answers, and is confident AF!

She said... COACH! That’s when I decided to hire my own business and life coach who completely changed my life and mindset this past summer.

After one session with her, I learned basic sales, shed a bunch of old narratives and relationships, and I have continued to be coached by her to strengthen my emotional intelligence skills and money mindset, and more importantly: share these lessons with my fellow Artpreneurial community.

Photo by Milana Braslavsky.

Photo by Milana Braslavsky.

My event planning company continues to grow with a team, while I simultaneously coach Womxn artists to launch and grow their own art businesses! What an honor it has been! Life is finally GREAT (but forreal tho)!

Since September 1st, 2018, I have coached over 30 Womxn Artists coming from all sorts of industries like Fine Art, Design, Illustration, Photography, Curatorial Practice & Museum Studies, Wellness, Product Design, and more from all over the country!

They have figured out how to merge their arts practice with other industries through innovative business models, they have realized their value, they have strengthened their emotional intelligence skills, sold out their products, and have hit their revenue goals of at least an additional $2k - $5k+ per month! It’s a dream come true to impact so many lives, and change the arts landscape at a larger level.

Photo by Fluffy Pop Postcards.

Photo by Fluffy Pop Postcards.

Exactly 3 months later on December 1st, I decided to celebrate all of this success by launching this website to introduce the new role I have embraced as a coach, and to show Womxn Artists that if I can do what I love and get paid for it, they can too!

Which ALSO means, it’s Art Basel Season/Miami Art Week 2018 in Miami, FL! So I figured I would throw out my personal recommendations of what to see in this magical city I have the privilege of calling home. Come back for that soon (next week)!

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Your journey from Artist to Artpreneur starts here:

  • In the meantime, check out what programs I have to offer if you are considering making some serious changes in your life too.

  • Subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of this site for exclusive tips and content to inspire you on your journey to becoming an Artpreneur!

  • And check out my Artpreneur Library, where I will add more books, soon!

  • Also, success stories are coming soon toooo…..a fellow Womxn Artpreneur is transcribing the testimonials RN!

Why wait? Time to let go of the old you. Time to redesign your life and become your highest self doing what you love, and getting paid for it.

Your journey starts here. Pat yourself on the back for taking the first step: acknowledging what you gotta do to do what you gotta do. :)

-Sincerely,

Your Launch Strategist for your future

Michelle Gomez