3 Lessons Learned from Sculpture Sabin Howard About Art and Business

Sabin Howard is an internationally renowned classical figurative sculptor based in New York City.

He is an Independent Artist, like Leonardo Di Vinci and Michaelangelo, meaning that he represents his business, not a representative or a gallery owner.

Like the great masters, Sabin wanted his art to be public. He didn’t want the art establishment hiding his art in private collections.

Like Leonardo Di Vinci and Michaelangelo, Sabin has a holistic approach to making art and making money.

In fact, Sabin studies the business correspondence between these Renaissance artists and their patrons.

Why? Because artists can learn from our history. Di Vinci and Michaelangelo dealt with many of the same business issues that Sabin is dealing with today.

Sabin was recently awarded the commission to complete the National World War 1 Memorial project, beating out 360 world teams to win this commission.

He makes Rodin look lazy. This monument includes 50 full figures cast in bronze.

I asked him to share his three fattest failures and the resulting lessons.

Failure #1
At age 30, Sabin’s life was not working out. He was no longer supported financially by his former wife.

He realized that his art needed money, and he could no longer indulge his stubborn perspective that money wasn’t necessary.

Many artists don’t want to hear this but the “it’s my way or the highway” will only get you so far.

Sabin knew that he had to change. He had to make art AND making money part of his psyche.

And when business becomes part of Sabine’s creative process his art began to excel, and he hit new heights of creativity.

Sabin needs 60 hours a week in his studio, and that takes money.

The money comes from the relationships with clients.

Relationships equal revenue.

Money equals freedom of expression.

If you can’t pay your rent, supplies, or models, you can’t make art.

Failure #2

Business relationships form the basis of financial support for your art. So Sabine had to get over the sting of criticism and feedback.

Each criticism can feel like the continuous failure, or it can become a challenge.

Creativity flourishes with boundaries, patrons, finances.

Sabine learned that you need resistance to grow.

The stress just made him more creative, more resourceful.

Feedback is not a problem. It’s a challenge. Meet the challenge and you move up to the next level.

Failure #3

Sabin has had some back issues. He can’t make his art if his body and mind are not healthy. Sabine works 11–14 hours a day. So he needs to be in peak physical and mental form.

I had to “take care of myself.”

Sabin had to learn to enhance his “mind-body connection.” He practices yoga every day.

Sabine also gets help from a Native Amercian Indian who feeds him a way of coping and connects him to a supportive community.

He realizes that he must see beyond himself to push himself into a growth pattern.

One piece of parting advice Sabine has for you is this.

Whatever is going on in your life is reflected in your art.

You alone are responsible for yourself.

You are where you are right now because you put yourself there.

You are where you are right now because of where you have done historically.

It’s not just about right thought. You must take the right action.

Being a successful artist is not a sprint, it is a long marathon.

Integrity is paramount.

Your craft is your priority.

We are empowered in more ways than we realize.

You can choose to be a victim or to be empowered.

Make a choice.

It takes work.

Self-help is not easy.

Giving birth is not easy.

You just have to deal with what you need to do.

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