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A year in numbers: An Emerging Artist’s career

9 photos of artist Malti B Lee at art events, exhibitions, galleries & with friends. Text "An emerging Artist's Career: one year in numbers"

As a new calendar year starts, I take time to reflect back on the previous year, the art I created, the lessons learned, the highlights & lowlights too. Just 18 months ago, after moving from England to California, I started showing and selling my artwork to the public. As an emerging, early-career artist, 2023 was a year of many firsts.

Pushing past all the words of self-doubt, the imposter syndrome that plagued me, I set myself goals and worked hard towards them. I moved out my comfort zone, learned new skills, made connections in the art world, and applied for endless opportunities.

As I reflect back on the last 12 months, I couldn’t be prouder!

Coming from a consulting background, numbers speak to me. So here it is, my 2023 art business in numbers.

It’s fair to say that I’ve had a rollercoaster 12 months.

Whilst numbers capture some of the successes (and help me reflect on my own goals), there were so many qualitative achievements from this period too. To name but a few, I’m proud to have

  • Completed my first design project for a NHL Team, San Jose Sharks
  • Developed my painting style to land on something that feels my own
  • Learned about marketing, from socials to newsletters
  • Built an incredibly supportive creative network
  • Found my confidence and voice, learning to lean into the unknown

Although I didn’t achieve everything I had set out to do this year, one of my biggest lessons learned as an emerging artist was to be forgiving to myself. Embrace the fact that life happens, things don’t go according to plan and you might have to reprioritse – that’s just part of the journey.

A few highlights

My debut solo exhibition at the Lindsay Dirkx Brown Gallery, San Ramon CA! I couldn’t have been prouder to see my 50+ paintings hanging in this beautiful space
Each and every in-person event, from the festival to artist receptions, the conversations had and connections made have been more than I could have asked for – thank you
The design I created for the NHL Team, the San Jose Sharks, seeing my face on the stadium screens in the SAP Center and being interviewed live!
Co-chairing local arts organisation, genARTS Silicon Valley, has been completely rewarding and enriching – being able to build my local creative community using the skills I gained in my previous careers has been a pleasure!

Life also happened in 2023

Not only was this a rollercoaster year for my art business, life got eventful with unexpected adventures! In 2023, Josh, my husband and I:

  • Got my green card & the green light to travel internationally again!
  • Finally got round to organising a wedding ceremony where our friends & family joined us in California
  • 2 weeks later, we took a trip to Austin when we decided to relocate
  • In under 6 weeks from that trip, we packed up our lives, moved to Austin + bought our first home!

Looking forward to the next year of my business, I’m still full of apprehension but bundles of excitement too! I hope to learn and grow as much as I did over the last 12 months, if not more.

Here’s to a great 2024 in the art business & life!

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